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Art at Beningbrough

A large historic room with black and white photography on the wall and two people walking through, two more seated in yellow armchairs
Take time out in the Reddihough Galleries | © National Trust / Anthony Chappel-Ross

Explore The Reddihough Galleries and exhibitions past, present and future, on the first floor of Beningbrough Hall.

Beningbrough's changing exhibitions are carefully curated. Working with artists, in partnership with museums and galleries, and drawn from National Trust collections. Over the coming years, the gallery will showcase high quality contemporary and historic art. A special thread running through the exhibitions will be the relationship to the gardens at Beningbrough, and the developments being led by garden designer Andy Sturgeon.

Inspired by Italy

Until 17 March 2024 (on open days)

The exhibition brings together the work of Kate Somervell, a Yorkshire based black and white photographer, and Giovanni Battista Piranesi, an eighteenth-century Italian artist. It highlights the romance and reality of Italy and the Italian influence on one of Yorkshire’s great houses. Both artists take inspiration from architecture despite working 300 years apart. Hidden views of Venice, contrast with newly commissioned images of Beningbrough, alongside classical Rome.

New lighting throughout the hall and the spacious rooms of the first floor provide a place where visitors can take their time viewing the art, and the landscape beyond. The Saloon is the centrepiece of the gallery spaces and an opulent space for displaying art, as it was in the eighteenth century.

This short film sets the scene for Inspired by Italy and what visitors might expect to see in the changing exhibitions in Beningbrough Hall's art gallery spaces.

Visiting the exhibition

A flavour of what to expect in the gallery spaces and the creatives involved. All inspired by Italy.

Black and white photograph of two walls coming to a corner with several doors
Hidden corners of Venice offer an alternative view | © Kate Somervell

Venice by Kate Somervell

Kate captures a different side to Venice, perhaps not always seen. In some, the anticipation of the day is palpable with a calm sense of emptiness. An air of mystery and secrecy is created by dark corners and pockets of light, with bold architecture central to the pieces. The images in this space could easily be photographs of Beningbrough, as common threads start to emerge. In the exhibition uncover a little more about Kate's approach to photography. The detail of the images need to be seen in person to fully appreciate the level of detail captured in each moment.

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Stimulate all the senses

  • Beningbrough Hall resident Giles Earle wrote a letter from Rome in 1771. Have a seat in the audio chair and hear what he had to say. His opinions could surprise you.
  • Spend time browsing the books or map of Venice, creating poetry or building shapes and structures - however the exhibition inspires you. Perfect for younger visitors too.
  • Take some time to watch a longer version of this subtitled introductory film to the exhibition. Both photographer Kate Somervell and garden designer Andy Sturgeon discussing how they have responded to Beningbrough through their work.

Why Italy?

Italy was a source of inspiration in the building of Beningbrough, 300 years later we celebrate the continuing impact in the new exhibition Inspired by Italy.

The building of the current Beningbrough Hall was completed in 1716 and its design is said to have been inspired by John Bourchier’s tour of Italy in around 1704–1706. Yorkshire built, Italian inspired.

In 1769, Giles and Margaret Earle left Beningbrough Hall behind and embarked on a Grand Tour of Europe. The Earles brought back at least a dozen art works from their travels, mainly from Italy. However, only the bust of Pope Clement XIV by Christopher Hewetson (above the fireplace in the Great Hall) remains at Beningbrough.

Right up to the present day, the influence continues. A new Mediterranean Garden is being developed, due to open in summer 2024. The National Trust team are working alongside RHS Award winning designer Andy Sturgeon on a long term plan to revitalise the garden.

Initially, I had no idea how many parallels there would be to discover in rhythm, materials, design, and architectural elements that would echo from Venice to Beningbrough. A true journey of discovery.

A quote by Kate Somervell Photographer

Between exhibitions

Comings and Goings

25 May - 25 August 2024

This temporary interpretation will be in place on open days leading up to the installation of the next exhibition. Originally created to take element of the inside, out – when the hall was closed - it’s now heading back inside to occupy selected first floor rooms. Uncover more about the Beningbrough estate and those who lived here through key moments of history.

Coming next

The Botanical World of Mary Delany

10 September 2024 – 25 March 2025 on open days

Colourful botanical paper cuts of a sunflower and a poppy on a black background
When you look at the details, it's hard to believe they're cut from painted paper | © The Trustees of the British Museum

Explore the artwork of eighteenth-century artist Mary Delany in a photographic display in collaboration with the British Museum. Inspired by the pioneering technique of Mary Delany, women’s craft and exploratory use of materials is featured in almost fifty artworks.

The exhibition brings together a selection of fascinating works by women artists from across the National Trust's collections, fresh from the pages of a new publication. Come face to face with brand-new sculptures by Rebecca Stevenson, celebrating art, science, and creativity, in the stunning Great Hall at Beningbrough.

I have invented a new way of imitating flowers

A quote by Mary Delany 1772

The Reddihough Galleries

The late Mr Ian Reddihough, a proud Yorkshireman and avid supporter of Beningbrough Hall, has left a lasting gift in his will to support the conservation and care of this cherished place.

To commemorate Mr Reddihough’s exceptional gift, the first-floor art gallery spaces have been named in his honour. His generous contribution will ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and history of Beningbrough.

Mr Reddihough’s gift serves as a powerful reminder of the impact that gifts in wills can have. Whether it’s a gift to plant a new sapling or a gift to build an entire garden, we hope it inspires others to consider leaving a lasting legacy – no matter the size – of their own.

Find out how gifts in wills play a vital role in supporting the preservation of our nation's heritage and the special places that you love.

Don't miss

The gallery entrance panel, inscribed with Mr Reddihough's name was the winning entrant from a competition for Design Students at nearby York St. John University and designed by Hilary Pitcher.

Previous exhibitions

Overhead shot showing countryside, gardens, hall, walled garden and tree lined avenue

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