Introducing our remarkable collections
We look after one of the world's largest and most significant holdings of fine art and heritage objects – a treasure chest of history. No other organisation conserves such a range of heritage locations with buildings, contents, gardens and settings intact, nor provides such extensive public access.
Our places, our collections
Many works of art, furniture and other objects in the collections were commissioned, acquired and accumulated by country house owners over many centuries, as contemporary furnishings and as dazzling displays.
Frequently these were conscious creations - personal statements of taste, patronage, lineage and social status. High fashion, design and superb craftsmanship were the order of the day.
But not all places are grand treasure houses. Many are small and not at all ostentatious, with deep personal associations, sometimes with an individual writer, politician, architect, poet or composer.
Every object tells a story
Our collections offer you the chance to uncover a broad spectrum of social, political, scientific and industrial histories. The lives and occupations of former inhabitants of our places are quietly evoked, illuminated by their surviving personal treasures.
Many historic libraries also survive remarkably intact, conjuring a special atmosphere of personal study and reflection. They range from those of wealthy collectors to those formed with more practical and provincial ambitions. Some were formed by literary giants, such as the writers Rudyard Kipling and George Bernard Shaw.
Art from far flung corners
Works of art and objects originate from many places and times, from ancient Egypt and Greece, China and India, and of course Britain and Europe.
Archaeological sites in Britain tell stories that are thousands of years old, through surviving artefacts, structures and landscape features.
Something for everyone
Special collections, displays and ever-changing exhibitions can now be enjoyed at more places, inviting discovery of the full extent of our holdings.
With close to a million objects – from Samurai armour to a Rembrandt self-portrait, from Chippendale furniture to an exquisite pietre dure cabinet – there is no shortage of choice.