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.

Current exhibitions

Portrait of Elizabeth I attributed to Hilliard on display at Waddesdon Manor, a National Trust property in Buckinghamshire

Power & Portraiture at Waddesdon Manor 

This special display explores how Elizabeth I and her courtiers used portraits to fashion their public image and promote themselves in a glamorous, dangerous world. On display are two spectacular panel paintings recently attributed to Nicholas Hilliard. Visitors will learn about the scientific and scholarly detective work that led to these exciting attributions and discover comparisons to the famous ‘Phoenix’ portrait of Elizabeth I, generously lent by the National Portrait Gallery.

Bernar Venet at Cliveden

Bernar Venet at Cliveden 

Internationally acclaimed conceptual artist Bernar Venet is bringing a new perspective to the gardens at Cliveden with an exciting outdoor art exhibition. 10 large-scale sculptures, some scaling up to 9 metres high, are placed around the estate, challenging you to re-think the space which has often been home to new and striking art.

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.

Exhibition at Waddesdon Manor, a National Trust property in Buckinghamshire

Creatures & Creations at Waddesdon Manor 

Witness nature re-imagined in this exhibition that sees an amalgamation of fashion, digital art and animal specimens on show. In collaboration with the Natural History Museum at Tring, Walter Rothschild's spectacular collection of natural history provides the inspiration for colourful virtual collages by Platon H and couture dresses by Mary Katrantzou.

A Shell poster of The Vayle of Aylesbury by Rex Whistler

Discovering Britain: the Shell Heritage Art Collection at Mottisfont 

This exhibition brings together a series of posters commissioned by Shell from the 1920s through the 1950s featuring historic landmarks and inspiring scenes of the British countryside, brought vividly to life by up-and-coming artists such as Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Rex Whistler and Vanessa Bell.

Historic photograph from the upper lawn

Standen Revived - Mrs Beale's global garden 

After five years the restoration and conservation project of the gardens at Standen is complete, reinstating the splendour of the original Arts and Crafts-inspired garden created by Margaret Beale. For those wishing to delve deeper into the history of the garden revival, this exhibition looks at the people and places that influenced Mrs Beale and her garden at Standen.

La Tela Real at the National Gallery in London

A Spanish visitor to Kingston Lacy 

A unique landscape by Diego Velázquez from the National Gallery in London is on view at Kingston Lacy in Dorset. This is the first time this exceptional work, La Tela Real, has left the National Gallery. From the summer, look out for an exciting programme of activities and specialist talks about the painting and its fascinating associations with our own exceptional collection of Spanish paintings.

Wedgwood ceramics at Leith Hill Place

Wedgwood at Leith Hill Place  

For the first time in over 50 years, a collection of Wedgwood ceramics formed by the Wedgwood family is on display at Leith Hill Place in Surrey. View the timeless beauty of exquisite Wedgwood ceramics in their original home.

Portrait of Thomas Cromwell from the National Portrait Gallery

Copying Holbein at Montacute 

This exhibition brings together 16th and early 17th-century copies of Hans Holbein the Younger’s portraits of prominent individuals from the court of Henry VIII. Holbein was a celebrated painter, printmaker and designer. In the years following his death, there was a lively market for copies of his paintings. On display are works from the National Portrait Gallery including portraits of Thomas Cromwell, Sir Thomas More, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, and also a portrait of Jane Seymour from the collection at Montacute.

See extraordinary objects in our Riches of the Earth exhibition and trail from 23 March to 23 October

The Riches of the Earth at Waddesdon Manor 

Baron Ferdinand collected many objects made of precious materials, hardstones, minerals, silver and gold. Some of the smaller objects and items from store are displayed for you to closely examine.

John Singer Sargent Portrait of Miss Elsie Palmer (A Lady in White)

Queen Palmer, John Singer Sargent and their Circle at Ightham Mote 

The Queen of Ightham - An American interlude explores Queen Palmer, wife of the American railroad engineer William Jackson Palmer who founded Colorado Springs. Queen came to live at Ightham Mote with her three daughters in April 1887 and it was here that she attracted the elite of the Aesthetic Movement, including the renowned portraitist John Singer Sargent. Thanks to a generous loan from the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Sargent's portrait of Elsie Palmer, Queen's daughter, is on view. This is a unique opportunity to see a work by Sargent in the place where it was originally painted.

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.

Forthcoming exhibitions
An illustration from the Gruffalo's Child by Axel Scheffler

The Gruffalo and Friends at Mottisfont 

Discover colourful, characterful works by the much-loved children’s illustrator Axel Scheffler in Mottisfont's gallery. Full of expressive characters and quirky details, Scheffler’s ink-wash and pencil style is instantly recognisable. Most of the works featured are from his famous collaborations with Julia Donaldson, with a few other earlier pieces.