Collection highlights at Oxburgh Hall

Many items in Oxburgh’s collection were acquired by the Bedingfeld family to help create their 19th century ‘romantic’ interiors and consequently a very specific aesthetic effect. However, this style quickly went out of fashion, meaning the survival of these interiors and objects is rare. Here we explore some of the most significant items within the collection.

The Marian hangings at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

The Marian hangings 

Mary, Queen of Scots was considered a threat to the throne and on the orders of Elizabeth I was kept captive, under the watchful eye of Bess of Hardwick’s husband. During her exile, Mary and Bess worked on a series of embroideries, which are now at Oxburgh.

Pink flock and gilt wallpaper by Townsend, Parker & Co

Oxburgh's historic wallpaper 

Oxburgh’s wallpaper collection provides evidence of the family’s decorative tastes and the functions, furnishing and hierarchies of the different rooms. It even includes the work of leading designers - Pugin, Crace and Willement.

The heavily carved dining room table at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

Oxburgh's furniture collection 

Whilst viewed in isolation, the dark furniture at Oxburgh, cobbled together from other pieces may not be to your taste. But it's for this reason that only a handful of collections and ‘romantic’ interiors like this remain in England.

The Saloon at Oxburgh Hall

Tudor Portraits  

Sir Henry Bedingfeld, Elizabeth’s gaoler, refused to sign the Act of Uniformity, which outlawed Mass and made recusancy a crime. This is just one of the many paintings to hang on the wall at Oxburgh Hall, where the artwork within the collection is almost entirely made up of portraits.

The alterpiece in the chapel at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

Religious artefacts  

The Antwerp altarpiece was acquired by the family to adorn the 19th century Chapel, to celebrate the Bedingfelds’ Catholic faith. It was only after the relaxation of laws against Catholicism that such an imposing object could be displayed. You'll see many more religious artefacts around the house.

Portrait of Anne Bedingfeld as a nun, Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

A show of faith 

The family’s faith is represented strongly as a theme within the collection. An incredible number of the family entered religious orders on the Continent. Of the 153 nuns in Europe to be born in East Anglia, 30 were Bedingfelds – the greatest number provided by a single family. This is a portrait of Anne, daughter of the 1st Baronet.

Proclamation by King Charles II on display at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

Medieval and Tudor manuscripts 

There are some rather special documents that still exist at Oxburgh, including the original licence to crenellate, a form of royal planning permission if you like, which dates back to 1482. In addition to this there’s a patent of advancement, which grants a baronetcy from King Charles II, manuscripts and correspondence, including a letter regarding Catherine of Aragon’s funeral.

The Antwerp Cabinet at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

Antwerp cabinet 

The Antwerp cabinet was the ultimate must-have item in the 17th century, it was used to display curiosities and to wow guests. Sir Henry Paston-Bedingfeld, the 6th Baronet, picked it up on one of his many shopping expeditions to the Continent.

Did you know...

Explore the collection

You can now explore the full collection online and find out more about the unique and wonderful items in our care at Oxburgh Hall.