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 March and April

Edward Herbert, 1st Lord Herbert of Cherbury / Powis Castle

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. This Jacobean miniature, painted by Isaac Oliver (1565-1617), depicts Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury, a philosopher, diplomat, musician, poet and all-round celebrity of his day, posing as a romantic knight.

Boxes by Romilly Saumarez Smith for the Woman's Hour Craft Prize © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Woman's Hour Craft Prize at Mottisfont 

Discover bold, beautiful and brilliantly diverse works by the 12 finalists of the £10,000 Woman’s Hour Craft Prize. From a bespoke bicycle to willow sculpture, this exhibition provides an important snapshot of how contemporary British craft practice reflects on, and engages with, the world today.

Current exhibitions

Part of the exhibition at Killerton.

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.

A section of a hand-drawn illustration from Milton by William Blake

William Blake: Visions of Albion at Petworth 

Visions of Albion celebrates the three years Blake spent living in Sussex between 1800 and 1803. It unites Petworth's works by Blake with over 50 works from the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Tate Museum. From 13 January - 25 March 2018.

'The Rescue', a black and white cartoon by William Heath Robinson

Heath Robinson: Dreams and Machines at Mottisfont 

Explore the eclectic works of 1930s cartoonist and illustrator William Heath Robinson. This exhibition features a diverse collection of more than 60 original pieces from witty cartoons to dream-like watercolour landscapes.

Lady Clementine Churchill, the focus of Chartwell's upcoming winter exhibition

Chartwell exhibition: Clementine Churchill - Speaking for herself 

Discover Clementine Churchill and her role both as the wife to one of Britain's most famous politicians and as a mother raising her family at Chartwell. This exhibition shows how the history of the world would be very different if it weren't for this remarkable woman.

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.

Self portrait of Oliver Messel

Portraits by Oliver Messel 

Oliver Messel was a world renowned designer, enjoying great success predominantly in the theatre. Nymans' new exhibition for 2018 examines his lesser known talent as a portrait painter, with a unique collection of portraits and archive material.

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.

Coming up in 2018
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, this first-ever exhibition of Golden Age Dutch pictures from the collections of the National Trust will be shown at the Holburne Museum in Bath, opening on 25 May 2018. It will then move to the Mauritshuis in The Hague in October 2018, and then to Petworth House in West Sussex in January 2019.

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.