Paintings at Nostell

Ferdinand courting Miranda by William Hogarth

Nostell is home to world-class paintings that were bought by the Winn family to show their wealth and status. Discover the treasures hanging on the historic walls today.

‘The Procession to Calvary’ by Pieter Breughel the Younger (1564 – 1638)

Painted in 1602

The Procession to Calvary by Pieter Breughel the Younger
The Procession to Calvary by Pieter Breughel the Younger
The Procession to Calvary by Pieter Breughel the Younger

This painting was probably bought by the 5th baronet during the later 18th century. He was a keen collector of art, including over 100 works inherited through his wealthy Swiss wife. Many have long-since left Nostell, but this remains one of the outstanding stars of the collection.  

It shows a scene of Christ, surrounded by a crowd, carrying his cross to the hill of Golgotha where he would be crucified. Instead of trying to imagine Jerusalem as it really would have been, the artist has captured the landscape of his native Flanders (now Belgium) at the time he lived. The painting is full of carefully observed details of everyday life, creating a rich and powerful impression. 

Bought by the National Trust in 2011 with a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund, grants from other trusts and foundations as well as a large contribution from the public.
 

‘Sir Thomas More and his Family’ by Rowland Lockey (1565-1616) 

Painted in 1592 after an original by Hans Holbein

Sir Thomas More and His Family by Rowland Lockey
Sir Thomas More and His Family by Rowland Lockey
Sir Thomas More and His Family by Rowland Lockey

This famous Tudor scene is a copy of a now-lost 1527 painting by Hans Holbein the Younger. It shows the family of Sir Thomas More, a leading religious and political figure during the reign of Henry VIII. 

This version was probably one of several copies commissioned by members of the More family. It came to Nostell as a result of the marriage of the 4th baronet and Susannah Henshaw in 1727. Henshaw’s family were descended from one of Sir Thomas More’s daughters and this work seems to have been part of Susannah’s dowry, perhaps to emphasise this claim to status.

Until the beginning of the 20th century it was thought to be by Holbein and was originally shown off in the Winn house in London before being shipped to Nostell in 1742. The size meant it was hard to display and a 1761 visitor records it still in the packing crate in the Lower Hall. Placed on public show during the 19th century, it is still a very popular attraction. 
 

'Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Baronet and his wife Sabine Louise d'Hervart in the Library at Nostell Priory' by Hugh Douglas Hamilton

Painted in 1767

Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Bt and his wife Sabine Louise d'Hervart in the Library at Nostell Priory by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, 1767 / NT 960061
Portrait of Sir and Lady Winn
Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Bt and his wife Sabine Louise d'Hervart in the Library at Nostell Priory by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, 1767 / NT 960061

This double portrait was painted soon after Rowland and Sabine inherited Nostell and shows them standing proudly in their new Library. It features the bust of Venus, Roman Goddess of Love, symbolising the affection between them.

It was commissioned for the couple's London house and the artist has doubled the size of the Robert Adam-designed room, while accurately recording its fittings and original decoration, including the famous Chippendale desk. The painting came to Nostell when the London house was sold in 1785. 

'Self-portrait of the Artist hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting' by Angelica Kauffman 

Painted in 1794

Self-portrait of the Artist hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting by Angelica Kauffman, 1794 / Nostell NT 960079
Self-portrait the Artist hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting by Angelica Kauffman
Self-portrait of the Artist hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting by Angelica Kauffman, 1794 / Nostell NT 960079

Kauffman was one of the most prominent artists working in England in the second half of the 18th century. She was also one of the only two founding female artists of the Royal Academy of Arts and the last woman to be admitted until 1922. This picture represents Kauffman choosing a career as a painter - the figure of Painting points to the faraway Temple of Fame - rather than one devoted to the more traditionally feminine art of Music.

Kauffman married Antonio Zucchi; it appears he introduced Rowland and Sabine to his wife's work and that Sabine, in particular, was a fan.

Bought with assistance for the Heritage Lottery Fund.