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

View of pictures on display

Dutch masters unveiled at Petworth House 

See some of the finest 17th-century Dutch pictures from our collections on show together for the final stage of the Prized Possessions exhibition at Petworth House, West Sussex. This is the first major exhibition of the Trust’s paintings in 22 years.

Judith Kerr with 'Tiger Who Came to Tea' artwork

The Tiger who Came to Tea exhibition at Blickling 

From 12 January 2019, you can get up close to the artwork from this beloved children’s classic, as we celebrate its 50th anniversary with this exhibition tour of National Trust places. In addition to displays of Judith Kerr’s delightful illustrations, the exhibition features family trails, an interactive play kitchen and life-size model tiger. Until 3 March 2019 at Blickling, Norfolk.

Cows beside the river at Lynhay Meads, Hampshire, painted by Norman Thelwell

Thelwell: Laughter and Landscapes 

Mottisfont's new year exhibition takes a close look at Thelwell’s artistic life, from the popular cartoons which gave him international fame to his watercolours depicting the English countryside, particularly the landscape near Mottisfont, which he loved. Until 22 April 2019.

Dandelion by Jackie Morris

The Lost Words at Nymans 

This exhibition at Nymans in Sussex is a unique collaboration between renowned writer Robert Macfarlane, author of The Old Ways and Landmarks, and artist Jackie Morris, White Fox, Tell Me a Dragon. Visually exciting, it accompanies a programme of imaginative activities at Nymans. Until 2 June 2019.

Portraits for We are Bess hang with the historic portraits in the Long Gallery at Hardwick

We are Bess at Hardwick 

Hardwick's We are Bess exhibition retells the story of Bess's life through 16 modern photographic portraits, interspersed with original Bess portrait paintings and compares the challenges of women in the 16th century and today. Part of the Women and Power programme. Re-opens 16 February 2019.

Current exhibitions

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.

Artist Serena Korda installs her ceramic mushroom artwork

The Bell Tree: Serena Korda at Speke Hall, Liverpool 

Step into a magical environment this season. Deep in the heart of Speke's woodland is an ancient oak tree which has been transformed by award-winning artist Serena Korda into a sculptural sound installation with over 300 ceramic mushroom bells. Inspired by the folklore of the native bluebells that grow beneath its branches, The Bell Tree celebrates the dark side of the fairy kingdom.

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.

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

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

Reflect and re-imagine 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.

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.

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.

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.