Beyond the Portrait: Revealing the woman within

We are telling the stories of four women who have been instrumental in shaping Kingston Lacy across 400 years of the estate’s history. 

'Beyond the Portrait' is one of a wide range of events and exhibitions taking place at National Trust properties across the country to commemorate the centenary of women’s suffrage.  It has been developed in response to the National Trust Women and Power programme and aims to mark this important anniversary by exploring and highlighting the sometimes hidden voices, culture, and creativity of the women of the Bankes family across history, and where possible, making contemporary links to women’s roles and empowerment today.

Bringing together fine art, decorative objects and voices from the Bankes Archive held at Dorset History Centre, Beyond the Portrait shines the light on Mary, Frances, Anne and Henrietta: four Bankes women who influenced Kingston Lacy over 400 years of the estate’s history. It takes their portraits, part of Kingston Lacy’s internationally renowned art collection, as a starting point for understanding who they were and the role they played in shaping the estate.

The partnership project with the Unlocking the Bankes Archive is enabling Kingston Lacy and Purbeck Estate to create new interpretation based on research into the lives of these four women in the Bankes family – to place these women’s voices at the centre of our story-telling. We hope that part of the legacy of the project will be the foundation of our long-term plan to embed the female perspective into Kingston Lacy and Purbeck’s core story, rebalancing the way we share this history.