This exhibition shows a selection of his extraordinary art, decorative crafts and fine books which are now part of Welbeck’s historic Portland Collection.

Edward Harley married Henrietta Cavendish-Holles from Welbeck in around 1713. A dedicated collector, Edward Harley passionately sourced the rarest and most beautiful silver, curios, paintings, miniatures and books.

By the end of his life in 1741, Edward Harley had assembled the largest private library in Britain, containing 50,000 printed books, 7,639 manuscripts, 14,236 rolls and legal documents, 350,000 pamphlets, 41,000 prints.

On his death, many of the objects from Edward Harley’s collections were sold to the nation; including the Harleian collection of manuscripts which was one of the founding collections of the British Library. A selection of items were kept and treasured by his wife and daughter.

This exhibition provides the opportunity to see these cherished objects from Edward Harley’s collection, including some of his rare books and precious miniatures.

Edward Harley: The Great Collector is accompanied by an exhibition publication which is available to buy in The Harley Shop and from Amazon.

Image: Edward Harley and his daughter Lady Margaret, Enamel on gold, 1727 Christian Frederick Zincke (1683 – 1767)