art, culture & history

Collections: Historic Houses

Bridgeman represents the collections of some of the most important historic houses in the UK.

Impressive from the outside, historic houses often are just as impressive on the inside - home to some of the greatest art collections worldwide. Read on to see highlights from the historic houses we represent:

 

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

The Italian Garden and East Front of Blenheim Palace (photo) / Bridgeman Images
 

Built between 1705-1733, Blenheim Palace was a gift from Queen Anne to John Churchill after he led armies to victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. If that name sounds familiar then you will not be suprised to hear that ex-Prime Minister of Britain Sir Winston Churchill was the the great great grandson of John, and was born in Blenheim Palace.

 

The 9th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and their two sons, 1905 (oil on canvas), John Singer Sargent,(1856-1925) / Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, UK / Bridgeman Images

 

View of the Great Hall at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, UK (photo) / Bridgeman Images

 

The collection from Blenheim is spectacular and one of the most valuable art collections in Europe - it includes paintings by Joshua Reynolds, Anthony van Dyck, and John Singer Sargent.

 

The ceiling of the Saloon, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire (photo) / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Burghley House, Lincolnshire

Western Facade of Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire (photo) / Photo © Mark Fiennes / Bridgeman Images

 

Burghley House was built in 1556 by Sir William Cecil, later Lord Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I. After its completion few alterations were made to the exterior so it remains one of the finest examples of Elizabethan design in the country.

 

Olympian Gods, wall paintings in the Heaven Room, c.1695-96, Antonio Verrio, (1639-1707) / Burghley House Collection, Lincolnshire, UK / Bridgeman Images

 

Henry, 10th Earl and 1st Marquess of Exeter, his wife Sarah and daughter Lady Sophia Cecil, Sir Thomas Lawrence, (1769-1830) / Burghley House Collection, Lincolnshire, UK / Bridgeman Images

 

 

The house is festooned in wonderful works of art, including works by the wood carvers Grindling Gibbons and Jonathan Maine, the plasterer Edward Martin and the painters Louis Laguerre and Antonio Verrio. The panelled Billiard Room contains family portraits. The Marquetry Room has a large display of inlaid furniture dating from the late 17th century as well as a collection of 16th century Flemish pictures including a work by Pieter Brueghel. There is a superb collection of Japanese late 17th century porcelain. The Third and Fourth George Rooms house some fine larger pictures by Giordano and Guercino.

 

The Browne Brothers, 1598 (gouache & w/c on vellum), Isaac Oliver, (c.1565-1617) / Burghley House Collection, Lincolnshire, UK / Bridgeman Images

 

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

 

A view of Chatsworth from the south-west (oil on canvas), Thomas Smith of Derby, (c.1720-67) / Collection of the Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth House, UK / © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth / Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees / Bridgeman Images

 

Chatsworth, known as ‘The Palace of the Peak’, is the Derbyshire home of the Cavendish family, the Dukes of Devonshire, and has often been selected as Britain’s favourite country house.

 

Portrait of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, c.1785-87 (oil on canvas), Thomas Gainsborough, (1727-88) / Collection of the Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth House, UK / © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth / Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees / Bridgeman Images

 

A Hunchback Boy (red chalk with red wash on white paper), Annibale Carracci, (1560-1609) / Collection of the Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth House, UK / © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth / Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Chatsworth boasts one of the greatest private art collections in the world which contains treasures acquired by the family from the 16th century to the present day. The Devonshire Collection includes views of the house, garden and park throughout the ages as well as portraits of the Cavendish family, imposingly depicted by the grandest artists of the day including Sir Anthony van Dyck, Pompeo Batoni and John Singer Sargent. The images within the collection are key to showing aristocratic tastes of the last few centuries and include pastoral English scenes by Samuel Palmer, exotic lands visited on the Grand Tour and costume designs by Inigo Jones.

 

Trial by Jury, or Laying down the Law, c.1840 (oil on canvas), Edwin Landseer, (1802-73) / Collection of the Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth House, UK / © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth / Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees / Bridgeman Images

 

Goodwood House, West Sussex

 

Goodwood House, Nr Chichester (colour litho), Alfred Robert Quinton (1853-1934) / Private Collection / © Look and Learn / Bridgeman Images

 

Goodwood is the seat of the Dukes of Richmond, Lennox, Gordon and Aubigny and home of the Glorious Goodwood car racing festival.

 

Elis, with John Day up and John Doe, the trainer (oil on canvas), English School / The Trustees of the Goodwood Collection / Bridgeman Images

 

 

The art collection is more than equal to the stately interiors of this grand country house and includes many fine portraits of previous inhabitants, as well as a particularly remarkable collection of paintings of racehorses, a subject that has become synonymous with the Goodwood name.

 

Henrietta Le Clerc (oil on canvas), George Romney (1734-1802) & Sir Martin Archer Shee (1769-1850) / The Trustees of the Goodwood Collection / Bridgeman Images

 

Charles I (1600-49) and his Family (oil on canvas),  Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) / The Trustees of the Goodwood Collection / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Holkham Hall, Norfolk

 

Holkham Hall, Norfolk (photo) / Photo © Neil Holmes / Bridgeman Images

 

Holkham is one of the great neo-Palladian houses of England and hosts the art collection of the Earls of Leicester.

 

Holkham Estate, View of the Sculpture Gallery, Norfolk (photo) / Bridgeman Images

 

Thomas Coke, the First Earl of Leicester, was a lavish and discriminating collector who spent six years on a Grand Tour of Europe in the early eighteenth century. Of the hundreds of items brought back to Holkham, perhaps the most celebrated is Sangallo’s copy of Michelangelo’s ‘Battle of Cascina’, the only visual record of this great, lost painting.

 

The Battle of Cascina, or The Bathers, after Michelangelo (1475-1564), 1542 (oil on panel), Aristotile da Sangallo, (1481-1551) / By kind permission of Lord Leicester and the Trustees of Holkham Estate, Norfolk / Bridgeman Images

 

Houghton Hall, Norfolk

 

Houghton Hall, Norfolk (photo) / Photo © Neil Holmes / Bridgeman Images

The magnificent Palladian Houghton Hall in Norfolk is the seat of the Marquess of Cholmondeley. Houghton was once home to the British Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole.

 

Head of a Gondolier, John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images

 

Houghton Hall, View of the Gladiator from the Stone Hall, Norfolk, UK(photo) / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Although many of his fêted collection of pictures were sold to Catherine the Great of Russia in 1779 to settle debts, there are many remarkable paintings that are still found at Houghton. The collection’s masterpieces range from Samson and Delilah by Artemisia Gentileschi, to works by John Singer Sargent and the contemporary Australian painter Sir Sidney Nolan.

 

Samson and Delilah (oil on canvas), Artemisia Gentileschi, (1597-c.1651) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images

 

Wilton Hall, Wiltshire

 

Wilton House, East view showing the old entrance (oil on canvas), Richard Wilson (1714-82) / Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wilts. / Bridgeman Images

 

Wilton House stands on the site of a ninth century nunnery founded by King Alfred. This, in turn, was owned by a twelfth century Benedictine abbey which, with its surrounding lawns, was surrendered during the Dissolution of the monasteries, to King Henry VIII, who gave them to William Herbert around 1542. The House has remained in the family since that time and is now the home of William Herbert the 18th Earl of Pembroke. This 450 year old building has attracted visitors from around the world through its history, architecture, art treasures and acres of garden and parkland.

 

Elizabeth Beauclerk, Lady Herbert (1766-93),  William Beechey (1753-1839) / Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wilts. / Bridgeman Images

 

Portrait of Rembrandt's Mother (oil on canvas), Harmensz. van Rijn Rembrandt (1606-69) / Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wilts. / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Inside the House there are paintings by Sir Anthony Van Dyck or by his studio. The picture of Philip, 4th Earl of Pembroke and his family is the largest ever painted by Van Dyck.

 

The Double Cube Room. Designed by Inigo Jones (1573-1652) & John Webb (c.1611-72) in c.1649.
Portrait of Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke and his family by Van Dyck. Wilton House (photo) / Photo © Collection of the Earl of Pembroke / Bridgeman Images

 

More Historic House collections we represent:

Arundel Castle, West Sussex
Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire
Hatfield House, Hertfordshire
Portland Collection, Welbeck, Nottinghamshire
Weston Park, Staffordshire

 

Need assistance? 

 

If you are working on a project and need help sourcing a specific image, email us at uksales@bridgemanimages.com.


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