The collection at Beningbrough Hall

Two people looking at art on the walls of a large baroque room

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 collection

A collection of over 100 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 this year there is a selection of art from Dr. Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery. The current display includes Beatrix Potter and David Beckham. See more about the current Visiting Portraits Gallery.
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.

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.


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.
Caring for the collection is essential in the conservation of a historic house
Two women covering a chair with a white blanket