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 January and February

John Abell in residence at Dinefwr

Becca and her Children at Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire 

Encounter the rich and tumultuous history of Newton House, Dinefwr and the Rebecca Riots (1839-44). Artist John Abell’s new work examines the daily life, beliefs and camaraderie of the Rioters as they rose up in protest against the Turnpike Trusts and the introduction of road tolls.

The Fury of Athamas sculpture by John Flaxman on display at Ickworth's new exhibition

A Home of Great Art at Ickworth, Suffolk 

This January, experience a theatrical transformation of Ickworth’s collection with a brand-new House exhibition created by design collective The Decorators, working with lighting designers Studio Dekka. Ickworth’s biggest ever roof conservation project to protect the grand Rotunda and all its treasures within has given us the opportunity to celebrate some of Ickworth’s finest collection items.

A cartoon illustration by Bill Stott

Comedy and Commentary at Mottisfont, Hampshire 

Discover witty works from some of Britain’s best cartoonists commenting on current affairs. Our exhibition showcases the distinguished history of contemporary British cartooning. Humour is at the heart of this show, with works from the likes of Matt of the Telegraph, Mike Williams of Private Eye, and Ronald Searle.

Benjamin Disraeli

Between Two Faiths at Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire 

Looking at Benjamin Disraeli's life as a Jew and a Christian, this exhibition explores Disraeli’s Jewish roots and childhood baptism, anti-Semitic public reception, and his creation of a Jewish visual identity towards the end of his life.

Art installation 'New Moons'

Silent Light at Mussenden Temple, Co. Londonderry 

In this unique combined experience, witness the dark sky at Downhill Demesne and view the ‘Stained Moons’ art installation by moonlight at Mussenden Temple. Created by artists James Russell and Hannah Plumb, this installation of reclaimed glass evokes the eight phases of the moon. Booking required.

Current exhibitions

Saint Agatha, by Carlo Dolci, on display at the Treasures of Osterley exhibition

Treasures of Osterley at Osterley Park and House, London 

Explore the rise to fame and fortune of the Child banking family and discover the art and design that they commissioned and collected from around the globe. The centrepiece of the exhibition is the recently acquired painting of Saint Agatha by the 17th-century Italian artist Carlo Dolci.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea exhibition banner

The Tiger Who Came To Tea at Osterley Park and House, West London 

Get up close to the beloved artwork from Judith Kerr’s much-loved children’s classic picture book, 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea'. This touring exhibition will be at Osterley until 1 March 2020.

Blue illustration of a hare created from linoprint

Winter Wildlife in Print at Beningbrough Hall, North Yorkshire 

After the leaves have fallen and the flowers have gone, wander the gardens of Beninbrough Hall to discover beautifully crafted installations by Yorkshire artist Gerard Hobson. Each artwork is inspired by real-life creatures that make Beningbrough their home.

One of Richard Bloom's entries into the 'Beautiful Gardens' category

International Garden Photographer of the Year Exhibition at Sissinghurst, Kent 

Showcasing some of the very best amateur and professional garden photography from across the world, this dynamic display has everything from portrait to panorama and from the quirky to the outright wondrous. Categories include the Beauty of Plants, Wildlife in the Garden and Wildflower Landscapes.

The Three Trees, 1643, Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), detail

Skyscape at Petworth House, West Sussex 

This unique exhibition showcases nearly 40 objects from the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford and charts the popular art of aerial (rather than terrestrial) landscape, through a succession of masterpieces that span 500 years of European art.

Miniature portraits

The Coventrys and Art exhibition at Croome, Worcestershire 

This new exhibition of portraits, from Croome’s own collection and on loan from private collections, showcases the history of the Coventry family from the turn of the 17th century through to the present day.

Illustration from Welcome to Planet Zog

Flights of Fancy: The Wondrous World of Quentin Blake at Nyman's, West Sussex 

Leap into a fantasy world with a new exhibition of the work of legendary illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake. Kindly on loan from Sir Quentin’s archive, the exhibition features illustrations from his self-penned stories, including the joyful antics of ‘The Story of the Dancing Frog’ and voyages of imagination in ‘The Green Ship’.

A banner welcomes Sir Charles Chute home from the Front in 1918.

Hampshire's Leading Citizen at The Vyne, Hampshire 

Find out how the estate survived through the turbulence of two World Wars. Featuring memorabilia from members of the family, highlights include Sir Charles Chute’s Great War medals, personal photographs and a touching homemade banner to celebrate his return from the horrors of the Front in 1918.

Visitors looking at archive documents in an exhibition at Quarry Bank

A Healthy Profit at Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire 

Explore the physical, mental and emotional toil of working in a mill. What did it feel like to lose a finger, to suffer from cotton lung or return to work days after giving birth? Discover the impact of mill work on the body, the treatments given to workers, and how this historical story is relevant to our health and wellbeing today.

Vogue cover image from October 1950 by Anthony Denney

Anthony Denney at Rainham Hall in London 

Celebrating an icon of British 20th-century design and fashion photography, Rainham Hall launches its summer exhibition programme about the life and career of one of its 1960s inhabitants, Anthony Denney. One of Condé Nast’s chief photographers, Denney was featured in British Vogue magazine (where he was Decoration Editor for nearly 20 years), and House and Garden magazine. Rainham Hall and its garden are interpreted in Denney's original designs and decor with personal objects on display. Opened 29 June.

An illustration by J.F Mullock depicting the attack on the Westgate Hotel by the Newport Chartists.

Riches and Rebellion: Tredegar House and the Newport Rebellion 

Our new exhibition at Tredegar House, marks 180 years since the Newport Rising, the deadliest rebellion of the Chartist movement. Riches and Rebellion explores the Morgan family’s role in the uprising, the surveillance of their tenants and Octavius Morgan’s passion for collection and curation.

Visitor looking into What is Home exhibition

What is Home at Croome in Worcester 

A new exhibition at Croome Court in Worcestershire, that once housed a school for boys, explores the question ‘what is home?’ through the voices of former pupils and children currently in care. Artist Kashif Nadim Chaudry’s installation is inspired by a period in Croome’s history from 1948–1978 and the pupils' real-life stories and personal objects.

Visitors explore HumanKind exhibition at National Trust Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

Humankind at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire 

This exciting exhibition sheds new light on the imposing Baroque Calke Abbey in Derbyshire and its ‘isolated’ family that was said to hide from the world. It explores the themes of loneliness and human kindness. Follow the lives of six Calke inhabitants over two centuries, through immersive audio-visual experiences, displays and outdoor installations.

Mrs Greville's Butlers including Mr Bole, centre, who features in the new exhibition, Polesden Voices

Polesden Voices at Polesden Lacey, Surrey 

Hear stories of the men and women who made their lives at Polesden Lacey echoing through the halls in our new, interactive exhibition. We use new research and reminiscences to tell the stories of the men and women who lived here in times gone by.

Sutton Hoo replica helmet

Sutton Hoo exhibition, Suffolk 

The redesigned Tranmer House and new High Hall exhibition space at Sutton Hoo will unveil dramatic new displays, showcasing finely-crafted replicas of glittering Anglo-Saxon treasures, to tell the story of a spectacular King’s ship burial. This site is one of the greatest archaeological discoveries. Sutton Hoo is waking up...

Historic image of Hughenden's secret Second World War mapmakers

Second World War story at Hughenden in Buckinghamshire 

Discover more about Hughenden's secret wartime past in the new permanent display supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. In ground floor rooms opened to the public for the first time, find out why this manor house was high on Hitler's target list.

Churchill arriving in Geneva, 1946

A History of Winston Churchill in 50 Objects at Chartwell in Kent 

This new permanent exhibition at Chartwell focuses on the extraordinary life of Sir Winston Churchill, telling the stories of his many achievements and personal life. Get close to the fascinating collection of Churchill’s own possessions accumulated by him over the course of his lifetime; from personal mementos to gifts he received from friends, family and political contacts from around the world.

Chippendale green dressing table with open drawer

Chippendale Revealed: online exhibition 

On 5 June we launched ‘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.

Hannah Squire, curator of the exhibition 'Look Beneath the Lustre' admires the work of Evelyn De Morgan

Look Beneath the Lustre: The De Morgan Gallery at Wightwick, West Midlands 

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 in Reading 

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, Croome in Derbyshire 

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.