Where can you find David Beckham and Beatrix Potter within a few miles of York?

One of the visiting portraits. Photograph © National Trust
19 Jun 2017 @ 9.49 pm
| Entertainment, History

Some of the finest paintings from the National Portrait Gallery are now on show only a few miles from York.

The galleries at Beningbrough Hall are currently home to a selection of original artwork specifically chosen by the gallery’s director, Sir Nicholas Cullinan.

The Visiting Portraits Gallery is a unique opportunity to come face to face with parts of the national collection.

This year you’ll find portraits of Beatrix Potter, Ted Hughes, and David Beckham as well as The Nine Living Muses of Great Britain by Richard Samuel.

Each of the four paintings represents a different point in Beningbrough Hall’s 300 year old history.

Making a house a home

History looking down… Photograph © National Trust / Chris Lacey

This select group extends the hall’s wider collection of more than one hundred 18th century portraits courtesy of the longstanding partnership with the National Portrait Gallery.

The many faces looking down at you are some of the most influential figures of the era and Beningbrough is no doubt a setting where they would have felt very much at home.

As well as the wide collection of paintings, the hall also has a display of porcelain and furniture, several from Holme Lacey, the ancestral home of the last private owners, the Chesterfields.

With the Short Stories and Untold Tales exhibition, you can read about the lives of the different families that called Beningbrough home with fascinating diary entries from staff and family members.

Grand designs

Beningbrough Hall. Photograph: YorkMix

The inspiration for the impressive house itself with its dramatic north front was born in Italy in the early 1700s, when 20-year old John Bourchier went on his Grand Tour to Europe.

Bourchier was fascinated by the great Baroque palaces and churches of Rome and he returned to Yorkshire after two years, with grand designs for a new house at Beningbrough.

The hall we see today is 300 years old following its completion in 1716.