Faces of Change: Nature's Champions

Beatrix Potter, Nature's Champions, Dunham Massey

From 21 September - 9 December, get face to face with champions of the natural world in a new exhibition opening at Upton House and Gardens in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. From Sir David Attenborough and Linda McCartney to William Wordsworth and Octavia Hill, we will be celebrating those who have shaped the way we think about nature today.

This partnership between the National Trust and the National Portrait Gallery draws on paintings, sculptures and photographs from the Gallery’s collection. The exhibition, which has already visited Dunham Massey and Attingham, focuses on individuals who have transformed the way we perceive, experience and aim to protect the natural world. 

Featured sitters include environmental activists, broadcasters, poets, politicians, campaigners, gardeners and scientists from the 19th century to the present day who have affected how we interact with our environment.

Photograph of Sir David Attenborough
Photograph of David Attenborough
Photograph of Sir David Attenborough

From broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, to the author of My Family and Other Animals, Gerald Durrell, you’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with the faces of those who’ve shaped the world we live in and discover their green legacy.

Other champions featured in the exhibition include Gardeners’ World presenter Roy Lancaster, who travelled the world on plant-finding expeditions, and environmentalist and champion of organic farming and gardening, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

An oil painting of one of the founders of the National Trust, Octavia Hill, will also be on display along with a portrait of children’s writer, artist and conservationist Beatrix Potter. Other recognisable faces include: Chris Packham, Dame Vivienne Westwood and The Clash front man, Joe Strummer.

To complement the exhibition, we will also be highlighting landscape paintings from Second Viscount Bearstead’s extensive collection in the ‘picture in focus’ display in the sitting room. This display, researched by our excellent volunteers, presents a selection of landscape paintings by European artists from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century. It is the first time that these paintings have been brought together and we hope that a fresh perspective might stimulate new appreciation of their style, and the images and ideas they present of the natural world over time.