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125 Treasures series

A painting of the racehorse Hambletonian by George Stubbs (1724–1806), at Mount Stewart House, County Down, Northern Ireland. One man in a top hat holds the horse's bridle while another holds a cloth to rub the horse down.
Hambletonian, Rubbing Down by George Stubbs (1724–1806) at Mount Stewart, County Down | © National Trust

This podcast series takes an in-depth look at five fascinating historical objects from our collections. From handcrafted tapestries to an ornate elephant automaton, each episode unveils hidden stories about these treasures and the people who collected them. Join actress Alison Steadman as she delves into the extraordinary stories behind some of Britain’s most fascinating objects.

Episode 1: The elephant in the room

Delve into the history of an ingenious automaton device that wowed the influential and the rich. Discover how it journeyed around the world before becoming the centrepiece of glittering parties at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire.

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00:00
19:05

Episode 2: The horse on the staircase

In this episode we explore the story behind 'Hambletonian - Rubbing Down', from the collection at Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland. Listen in as we take a closer look at the story of a famous racehorse and uncover hidden symbolism that led to a court case.

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00:00
25:29

Episode 3: The needle on the lawn

The Philae Obelisk is often called the 'jewel in the crown' of the incredible collection of Egyptian artefacts at Kingston Lacy in Dorset. In this episode we discover how it held the key to unravelling a mystery that had perplexed society, and scholars, for hundreds of years.

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00:00
26:13

Episode 4: The writer on the wall

Take a closer look at the portrait of Virgina Woolf hanging in the dining room at Monk’s House in East Sussex, which speaks of an incredibly close bond between two influential sisters whose desire for change has shaped art and literature to this day.

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00:00
22:07

Episode 5: The women in the hallway

In an era dominated by men, Bess of Hardwick managed to carve out space for herself and amassed a fortune rivalled only by royalty. She collected and commissioned many precious works of art and textiles, including a set of tapestries that embody the spirit of the woman she was.

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00:00
28:57
Visitor watching wildlife at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

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