Coming home to Croome

Croome Court is never going to be a traditional National Trust property with rooms full of period artefacts. We will showing select pieces of the remaining Croome collection on a rotating basis and aim to show these individual pieces in innovative ways.

Carole cataloguing and conserving returned furniture
Croome Carole cataloguing the collection
Carole cataloguing and conserving returned furniture

Croome collection accessible store

Visitors can join guided tours to view items from the collection in our accessible stores on the first and second floors.  Please ask the volunteers about daily tours when you arrive at the house.

Furniture being stored in the new storerooms
Croome accessible store
Furniture being stored in the new storerooms
The Croome collection

The 6th Earl of Coventry, George William, at the age of 28 succeeded as Earl of Coventry on the death of his father in 1751 and inherited Croome Court.

He undertook an ambitious development of the Court and parkland and it was his aim for Croome to be at the height of fashion.  He sought the first and the best of everything that he admired, amassing a fantastic collection of porcelain, furniture, tapestries, paintings and many other contemporary pieces.

Unpacking our returning paintings
Croome paintings return
Unpacking our returning paintings

The breakup of the Croome Collection

As with many landed families, fortunes were won and lost and by 1948, the Earls of Coventry had run out of time and money.  With the onslaught of the Second World War and the tragic loss of the 10th Earl in battle, it was resolved that Croome Court and some of the park had to be sold.

Return of the collection
Return of the collection
Return of the collection

Four fifths of the contents had to be sold at auction and the court itself was sold to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham.  It was fitted out as a boarding school for boys and run by the Society of St Vincent de Paul. St Joseph’s had about 140 pupils from all over the country.

The remainder of the collection which had not sold in the auction was moved to nearby Earls Croome Court where the Coventrys’ took up residence.

A new home for the collection

On the death of the 11th Earl in 2002 and the subsequent sale of Earls Croome Court, it became necessary for the Croome Heritage Trustees to find a new home for the porcelain, furniture and family portraits which had been retained.

Until recently many of these items (around 1,200) had been stored and exhibited at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire.

The collection comes home

Since 2017 the Croome treasures have been returning; staff and volunteers have brought the items back to the house cataloguing everything using the National Trust Collection Management System.

Olivia writing a condition report on our returning porcelain
Croome condition report
Olivia writing a condition report on our returning porcelain

The objects that have returned include an incredibly important collection of Vincennes, Sevres and Meissen porcelain which are on display in our Golden Box in the Dining Room.

There are examples of George III furniture, including Mayhew and Ince commodes on display in the Lords Dressing Room and a number of portraits by Allan Ramsay which some of which are now hung within the house.

One of Croome's two beautifully crafted 18th-century commodes
18th century commodes
One of Croome's two beautifully crafted 18th-century commodes