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

Visitor looking into What is Home exhibition

What is Home at Croome 

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. From 16 March.

National Portrait Gallery, William Wordsworth

Faces of Change: Nature's Champions at Dunham Massey 

As part of the Trust’s People’s Landscapes programme, Dunham Massey celebrates the people who could be called ‘nature’s champions'. From Sir David Attenborough and Linda McCartney to William Wordsworth and Octavia Hill, this partnership exhibition with the National Portrait Gallery, brings together over 30 works of art and live debates. From 23 March.

Visitors explore HumanKind exhibition at National Trust Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

Humankind at Calke Abbey 

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. From 2 March 2019.

Delicately drawn pencil head self portrait of a young D.G. Rossetti with chalk detail

Rossetti, pre the Pre-Raphaelites exhibition at Wightwick Manor 

His paintings of flame-haired women define the style that Rossetti is best known for. But this year at Wightwick Manor in the West Midlands, you'll discover the early work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, before he created the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. From 4 March 2019.

Current exhibitions

Tree of Life fashion exhibition at Killerton

The Tree of Life at Killerton 

This year's fashion exhibition at Killerton in Devon explores the human relationship with trees that's celebrated in textiles and fashion design through the uses of patterns, dyes and materials.

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.

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. Celebrating women and power.

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.

Peckover House, Lord Peckovers Library

Lord Peckover's Lost Library 

Lord Alexander Peckover's valuable book collection was sold after his death in 1919. One hundred years later, Peckover House tells the story of Lord Peckover's 'Lost Library' and his wider collecting interests.

Churchill arriving in Geneva, 1946

A History of Winston Churchill in 50 Objects at Chartwell 

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.

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.

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.

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 2019

Plants Portrayed at Mottisfont 

Mottisfont unveils a selection of 34 contemporary botanical illustrations from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in May. Showcasing intricately detailed and colourful illustrations of flowers, leaves and trees – with some varieties that you’ll find out in the grounds, such as sweet chestnut. Includes work by Pandora Sellars - one of the world’s most important and influential botanical painters. From 4 May 2019.

Artworks by Suna Imre and Eileen White.

For the Time Being at Mottisfont 

For the Time Being showcases ceramic compositions, prints and artist books from a one-year residency at Mottisfont by Hampshire-based artists Suna Imre and Eileen White. From 4 May 2019.