The National Portrait Gallery and Montacute House
The National Portrait Gallery has been working in partnership with the National Trust for more than 40 years to display Tudor and Jacobean portraits at Montacute House.
The portraits depict some of the most important individuals from the 16th and early 17th centuries. It was among these monarchs, statesmen and courtiers that Sir Edward and Sir Robert Phelips built their careers and the fortune that funded the building and furnishing of Montacute, which was completed in 1601.
Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery can be seen throughout the house. In the Upper Clifton Maybank Corridor on the first floor you can get up close and personal, while the main collection is housed in rooms leading off the Long Gallery.
Room one – Portrait in Focus
Elizabeth of Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury (1527?-1608), known as 'Bess of Hardwick', rose from a modest gentry family to become one of the wealthiest people in Elizabethan England.
Room Two – The Court of Henry VIII
This room explores the portraiture of some of the key figures from Henry’s court including the man himself and his wife, Jane Seymour.
Room Three – Elizabethan England
The growing interest in portraiture during Elizabeth’s reign can be seen in this room.
Room Four – Elizabeth of Bohemia: The Winter Queen
Developed in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and the University of Bristol, this display explores Elizabeth of Bohemia’s life and portraits and was inspired by an important early seventeenth-century bed associated with Elizabeth’s marriage, which can be seen in the Crimson Bedroom.
Elizabeth of Bohemia (1596-1662) was an extraordinary political and cultural figure in the networks of power that spanned 17th-century Europe. Born in Scotland, she was the daughter of James VI of Scotland and I of England, the goddaughter of Elizabeth I, sister of Charles I and grandmother of George I.
Room Five – The Jacobean Court
This room includes an important portrait of James VI from the National Trust’s collection at Montacute. It is believed that the portrait was given by King James I to Edward Phelips in recognition of his services and support of the crown, as Edward played a key role in one of the events of the century - the trial of Guy Fawkes after the Gunpowder plot in 1604.