The Harley Foundation has worked to develop award-winning architecture in a range of inspiring arts facilities on the historic Welbeck estate.
The Harley Studios
When Ivy, Duchess of Portland set up The Harley Foundation in 1978, she envisaged that it would support artists by offering affordable studio spaces in tranquil surroundings.
Since then, The Foundation has developed 3 sets of subsidised studio spaces within Welbeck’s old Kitchen Garden. The garden was set up in the 1850’s and covered 22 acres. It contained large glass conservatories (some of which can still be seen in Dukeries Garden Centre), ornamental plants and flowerbeds, beds of vegetables and orchards of fruit. Consequently, it required a staff of 40 men and boys.
The ‘East Workshops’ were built in 2000 by leading British architect John Outram. These workshops are on the site of the Kitchen Garden’s ‘Pineapple Pits’. A complicated system of hot water pipes and fermenting manure was used to create the micro climate needed to grow the fruit in North Nottinghamshire.
The Harley Studios also stretch along into the ‘Tan Gallop’ which borders the Kitchen Garden. The 5th Duke of Portland built this covered gallop to train racehorses during the winter. It had heating and spongy oak chippings (from the leather tanning process) covered the ground, making it more comfortable for the horses’ hooves. The Tan Gallop Studios were built in 1980, and 35 years later The Portland Collection gallery was also built within it’s walls.
The Harley Gallery
Local architect Leo Godlewski designed The Harley Gallery, which opened in 1994. The gallery was constructed within the ruins of the Victorian gasworks, which were built by the 5th Duke of Portland. This grade one museum facility won a Civic Trust Award for Architecture and a Tourist Board Special Award for Excellence. The Harley Foundation and the European Regional Development Fund funded the project.
For architectural originality, sheer panache, quality of materials and attention to detail, The Harley Gallery can claim to be one of the best quality buildings created in England in the 1990s, and can bear comparison with anything recently completed. The whole scheme at Welbeck is a splendid combination of creative conservation and modern patronage.
John Martin Robinson, Architectural Historian
The Portland Collection
The newest addition at The Harley Gallery is a purpose-built gallery space for The Portland Collection, which was designed by Hugh Broughton Architects and opened in March 2016. It won a RIBA National Award 2016 and 4 RIBA East Midlands 2016 Awards, including East Midlands Building of the Year.
The overwhelming interest shown in exhibitions like The Harley Gallery Open Exhibition and The Harley Gallery’s displays from The Portland Collection has shown that there is a tremendous appetite in our area for the arts. The new Gallery is a marvellous opportunity for us to share the Collection, which was built up by my family over generations.
William Parente, chairman of the Trustees of The Harley Foundation
Press for The Portland Collection
Fascinating in terms of the objects, and let’s face it, as a view into the life of the other half
Nancy Durrant, The Times
A gigantic treasure chest, stuffed with sparkling loot
A beautifully lucent atmosphere in a thoroughly graceful room
Its contents – the selection will be changed every three years – are idiosyncratic, interesting, unusual, and cast light on family history, art history, and, well, just history in general
All the splendours of the Portland collection are put on show
Rare and precious, privileged and eccentric
Louis Wise, The Sunday Times