Celebrating 125 treasures in our collections

The National Trust looks after a treasure chest of history. From artistic masterpieces and vast tapestries to precious personal possessions, the range and breadth of the collections is astonishing.

A new book – 125 Treasures from the Collections of the National Trust – shares the stories behind some of these remarkable objects.

With more than one million objects at over 200 historic places, the National Trust looks after one of the world’s most significant collections of heritage objects and fine art. '125 Treasures from the Collections of the National Trust' brings together a selection of highlights.

Over 60 curators and specialists helped select the objects from places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to reflect the quality and range of the collections in our care.

The book takes readers on a journey through time starting with an Ancient Greek vase and ending with 20th-century design. Here, we take you closer to reveal more of the treasures and their connections to our places.

125 Treasures special displays

Visitors can see some of these treasures up close on special display at over 50 of our places in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Look out for displays at Kingston Lacy, Petworth, Waddesdon Manor and more.

A number of the treasures are displayed for the first time, including a small Roman figure recently discovered on the Wimpole Estate and a purse that once belonged to Cardinal Wolsey at Seaton Delaval Hall. You can scan a QR code to reveal the intricacies of Anglesey Abbey’s 19th-century pagoda clock, or digitally ‘flick’ through a photographic album at Sutton Hoo to see the Anglo-Saxon ‘ghost’ ship that was discovered there in 1939.

Note some of these displays may change over the Christmas period, so check the relevant property webpage before you visit and to make sure the house you want to visit is open.

Samurai armour and elephant automaton composite image

Selected highlights from 125 Treasures 

Delve into this intriguing selection of ten objects from our new 125 Treasures book. From samurai armour and a fully furnished dolls' house, to the earliest English globe in existence and a musical mechanical elephant – each object has a fascinating story to tell.

These treasures have fascinating stories to tell about the people who made, commissioned, acquired, saw or used them. Some of the objects have influenced the course of history, such as the first national atlas of Britain, created in the time of Elizabeth I to plan defences against Spanish forces. Other objects tell more personal stories, including the portrait of trusted housekeeper Mary Garnett at Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, who guided tourists around the house in a career spanning 40 years.

The selection also includes a 17th-century box with a secret door embroidered in expensive silver and gilt threads and a meticulously annotated photo album taken with rare colour slide film capturing the excavation of Sutton Hoo, Suffolk.

Objects up close


Bringing the fabric of history to life

In this video, you'll meet the people who look after lots of different textiles at our places. You'll also get to find out about the work they do at the Textile Conservation Studio at the Blickling Estate, Norfolk, such as conserving the striking samurai armour in our collections – one of the many objects featured in our 125 Treasures book.

Stack of books with 125 Treasures

Curators’ pick of 125 Treasures 

In our books' blog, seven curators tell us about their favourite treasure from our new book, 125 Treasures from the Collections of the National Trust. The book provides a glimpse inside these places, showing some of the great art and astonishing historic collections that can be found at National Trust places across the country.

Introducing our 125 Treasures podcast
125 Treasures podcast artwork

125 Treasures podcast

Get a taste of the podcast with our series trailer, presented by actress Alison Steadman.

Close up of Waddesdon's Elephant Automaton

125 Treasures podcast series 

Accompanying the publication of the 125 Treasures book, this podcast series takes an in-depth look at five of these fascinating historical objects.

" Unlike a museum, National Trust houses present us with art and objects in their historic contexts. With so many curious and wondrous objects it can be hard to know where to look first... and yet, as 125 Treasures reveals, each object has its own story to tell."
Book cover of 125 Treasures

Buy the 125 Treasures book 

This beautifully illustrated book showcases 125 fascinating objects held in the collections of our historic houses. It's a starting point for exploring these collections. By buying the book, you're helping us to raise funds to conserve, research and share these collections for everyone to enjoy.

Art & collections

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