Special exhibitions

Each year we host major exhibitions at some of our most iconic buildings and outdoor spaces. Some celebrate the people who hold special connections to those places; some shed new light on their histories. Others explore different aspects of our collections, from paintings and sculpture to interior design and photography. Our Trust New Art exhibitions showcase contemporary artwork inspired by our places.

Here are some highlights of what’s on now and what's coming soon.

Opening in June and July

Chippendale green dressing table with open drawer

Chippendale Revealed: online exhibition 

On 5 June we will be launching ‘Chippendale Revealed’, an online exhibition which includes specially commissioned photography showing previously unseen aspects of Thomas Chippendale’s furniture at Nostell Priory and showcasing the expertise of the National Trust's Furniture Research & Cataloguing team.

Mark Wallinger's The Writ in Water installation at Runnymede, Surrey

Writ in Water, Mark Wallinger in collaboration with Studio Octopi at Runnymede, Surrey 

From 16 June 2018 reflect and reimagine at Runnymede through a new public artwork - Writ in Water. At a site where over 800 years ago the feudal barons forced King John to seal the Magna Carta, Turner Prize winning artist Mark Wallinger, in collaboration with architectural practice Studio Octopi, has created a tranquil space offering you the chance to consider the ongoing significance and influences of Magna Carta. Commissioned in association with Situations.

Judith Kerr looks at the 'Tiger Who Came to Tea' artwork

The Tiger Who Came to Tea exhibition on tour 

Get up close to the beloved artwork from Judith Kerr’s much-loved children’s classic picture book, 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea', at an exhibition touring various National Trust places from July 2018 until 2020.

The State Dressing Room at Nostell, West Yorkshire

Interior Worlds: Chippendale at Nostell 

Thomas Chippendale is one of the most significant and influential designers in English history and 2018 marks 300 years since his birth. Chippendale created a new world of interiors for Nostell, supplying the house with over 100 items of furniture, wallpaper and textiles and we're celebrating the anniversary with a host of exhibitions, events and activities. From 13 July – October.

Current exhibitions

The Duet ('Le corset bleu') by Gabriel Metsu

Prized Possessions: Dutch Paintings from National Trust Houses 

Celebrating the enduring British taste for collecting Dutch paintings from the long 17th century, Prized Possessions is the first-ever exhibition of Golden Age Dutch pictures from the collections of the National Trust. It opens at the Holburne Museum in Bath on 25 May 2018 and then moves to the Mauritshuis in The Hague in October 2018, and on to Petworth House in West Sussex in January 2019.

Michael Eden exhibition at Waddesdon Manor, a National Trust property in Buckinghamshire

Michael Eden: Form & Transform 

For this solo exhibition at Waddesdon Manor, artist Michael Eden, formerly a potter, explores contemporary themes through the reinterpretation of historical objects using digital means. 25 May - 21 October. On display in Waddesdon's Coach House gallery at the Stables.

Enjoying Chippendale

Chippendale: the Man and the Brand at Nostell 

Unravel the story of Thomas Chippendale and his special connection to Nostell in West Yorkshire in this new exhibition revealing rare personal letters. How did a humble cabinet maker from Otley become a world-famous brand? Until 28 October.

A suffragette meeting from 1906

Votes for Women: A touring exhibition exploring the fight for female suffrage 

We’re partnering with the National Portrait Gallery on a touring exhibition of rarely seen paintings, drawings, photographs and archival documents, from surveillance photographs of militant suffragettes to portraits of the key players in the suffrage movement.

Lydia Denno, designer, standing in front The Word Defiant!

The Word Defiant! 

Blickling Estate in Norfolk is home to our largest and most significant library. In response to the conservation threats facing this collection, award-winning theatre company Les Enfants Terribles have created an immersive art installation. Until October.

The Silver Caesars exhibition at Waddesdon Manor, a National Trust property in Buckinghamshire

The Silver Caesars: A Renaissance Mystery 

For the first time in more than 150 years some of the most extraordinary and enigmatic treasures of the Renaissance will be reunited and displayed together at Waddesdon Manor. These beautiful table ornaments celebrate the Twelve Caesars, notorious rulers of ancient Rome. Each standing cup (or tazza) includes a portrait of one of the Caesars, as well as four episodes from his life on the supporting dish.

Powis Portraits

House of Portraits at Powis  

This exhibition at Powis Castle in Welshpool will give visitors the chance to see one of the Trust’s recently acquired treasures. A Jacobean miniature, painted by Isaac Oliver (1565-1617), depicting Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury, a philosopher, diplomat, musician, poet and all-round celebrity of his day, posing as a romantic knight.

A pencil sketch depicting two lovers sitting on a bench under a tree

Beyond Ophelia at Wightwick Manor 

Although she was a professional member of the Pre-Raphaelites, Lizzie Siddal is largely remembered today as the model in Sir John Everett Millais' 'Ophelia' (Tate Britain), or as the wife and muse of Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. This exhibition, only the second to be devoted exclusively to her artwork, reinstates Siddal as an important and influential artist and poet in her own right.

Staff in a photoshoot

Branded: Fashion, Femininity and the Right to Vote at Killerton 

Safe under the newly repaired roof, the fashion collection is back at Killerton. Meet the radical women who made fashion political during the campaign for women's suffrage in this illuminating exhibition. See clothing and objects worn and used by suffragettes and suffragists, including Eleanor Acland’s spectacular hand-embroidered couture wedding dress, made by Nicaud of Paris.

The Garden Room at Basildon Park

Reimagining of India at Basildon Park 

The Garden room at Basildon Park has been transformed into a temporary exhibition space to reflect Basildon Park's association with India. Local community input and Lady Iliffe's original intentions for the room combine to create an immersive space that reflects Indian culture, past and present.

Night and Sleep be Evelyn De morgan

William and Evelyn De Morgan at Wightwick Manor 

In partnership with the De Morgan foundation, a new exhibition exploring the work of Evelyn and William De Morgan has opened at Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton. Hosted in The Malthouse, a new purpose-built gallery space, the exhibition showcases some of Evelyn De Morgan's most iconic works including Night and Sleep, as well as a fantastic array of plates, vases and tile panels by William De Morgan.

Humphry Morice a painting by Pompeo Batoni

At Home with Art: Treasures from the Ford Collection at Basildon Park 

See nearly 70 objects from art historian Sir Brinsley Ford’s extraordinary collection, on loan from Augustine Ford. An avid collector from the age of eleven, Ford built on the art collection inherited from his father and grandfather. By the time of his death in 1999 he had amassed over 1500 works of art that included Old Master paintings, 20th-century British pictures, sculpture and decorative arts.

Visitor walking through 'The Golden Box'

Croome's collection returns with a twist 

Historical objects from the 6th Earl of Coventry’s collection have returned to Croome. Very important pieces that have been absent for over 70 years - including Lord Coventry's exquisite Meissen, Worcester and Sèvres porcelain - are presented in unique ways. Two artists exhibit new installations, The Golden Box and Chair Play, celebrating Croome's collection treasures and furniture.

A visitor looking at items from an exhibition at Hardwick Hall

Exhibitions in your area 

Search all our current exhibitions, installations and displays at a place near you