The collection at Beningbrough Hall

Dining room with Kit-cat portraits hanging on the walls

View the collection of 18th-century, portraits on permanent loan from the National Portrait Gallery on your visit along with changing temporary displays.

Italian inspiration

The inspiration for Beningbrough Hall was born in Italy in the early 1700s, when 20-year old John Bourchier went on his Grand Tour to Europe.
Bourchier was fascinated by the great Baroque palaces and churches of Rome and he returned to Yorkshire after two years, his head full of fresh ideas and designs for a new house at Beningbrough. The hall we see today is 300 years old following its completion in 1716.
The dramatic north front takes your breath away as you approach
Long driveway with grass flanks and red bricked hall at the top
The dramatic north front takes your breath away as you approach

The collection

A collection of 18th-century portraits is on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. The people in the portraits are some of the most influential figures of the era and Beningbrough is a setting where they would have felt very much at home.
Each year there are changing displays and you will find four of the principal rooms on the first floor tranformed into the Saloon Galleries.
Other collections on display include porcelain and key furniture pieces, several from Holme Lacey, the ancestral home of the Chesterfields - the last private owners of Beningbrough. On the ground floor find out more about the people who have played their part in Beningbrough's history and the last 300 years of this country house.

The Saloon Galleries


Interactive galleries

The interactive galleries on the first and second floors of the hall bring Beningbrough's portraits to life. They are entertaining for younger and older visitors alike and are open throughout the year.
Here, you can explore both the sitters' and artists' part in creating a portrait, create your own 18th-century-style virtual portrait and email it home, search the entire National Portrait Gallery collection, dress-up and try your hand at sculpting.

All that glitters...

Thanks to generous support, the 18th century gilt console table has been returned to its former glory. There were 240 hours of skilled craftsmanship in total, to conserve the structure of the table and the marble top. The final aspects of gilding the gold took place in the saloon for visitors to see. This video shows a rare behind the scenes look at some of the work involved in making sure this table can continue to be part of the Beningbrough collection for many years to come.


Beningbrough Hall has superbly crafted details and decorative finishing both inside and out. William Thornton, a talented carpenter-architect from York, and his team, carried out some, if not all of the carving.
Fine craftsmanship can be seen in wood carving, plasterwork, wrought-iron work and elaborately carved magnesian limestone on the exterior door casings.


Looking after parts of the hall and collection is a daily task including conservation cleaning, managing footfall and light levels. Some of the rooms have dropped blinds during parts of the day to help preserve delicate fabrics and paintings. A dedicated team work year round to care for the fabric of the building and its contents - to keep safe hopefully for the next 300 years.
During winter opening hours, parts of the hall are closed to allow the housekeeping team to carry out their annual deep clean. This traditionally occured when the household spent time at other properties and protects historic fabrics and items from the harmful effects of light and dust.
Caring for the collection is essential in the conservation of a historic house
Two women covering a chair with a white blanket
Caring for the collection is essential in the conservation of a historic house