The Portland Collection museum displays a selection of fine art and objects. The collection was developed over 400 years by an extended English aristocratic family, descending from Bess of Hardwick.
The collection takes its name form the Dukes of Portland, who owned Welbeck from 1755 to 1977 and whose descendants live there today. Although called a collection – and in quality it is equivalent to that of a major museum – very few members of the family could be called collectors in any traditional sense, since they had no intention of creating private museums or galleries. Instead they commissioned family portraits to hang on the walls of their houses or as miniatures to present as gifts, accumulated books and mauscripts in their libraries and archives, a invested in silver and porcelain for their dining tables. The Portland Collection is a composite picture of the lives, enthusiasms and eccentricities of ten generations of one family, a few of whom are famous but most of whom are not.
Michael Hall, Treasures of The Portland Collection
Explore The Portland Collection
The variety of works of art in The Portland Collection is amazing. For example, they range from ancient Roman gems to the pearl earring that Charles I wore at his beheading. Artists include Sir Antony van Dyck, Michelangelo, John Singer Sargent, and George Stubbs.
The Portland Collection gives an insight into the way people, places, tastes and society have changed over the centuries. It tells us about the history of England, through the lens of a single family.
The exhibits are idiosyncratic, interesting, unusual, and cast light on family history, art history and, well, just history in general.
Marina Vaizey, The Arts Desk, March 2016.
‘Men, Women and Things’ is currently on show. This focuses on the inspiring women in the family’s ancestry, from the first sci-fi writer to a natural historian.
The gallery was designed by Hugh Broughton Architects and opened in 2016. It has won many awards including the RIBA East Midlands Building of the Year.
For research enquiries, access and reproduction requests, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the Family Tree or pick up a Visitor Guide from Reception.