'Unseen Treasures' of The Portland Collection

'Unseen Treasures' of The Portland Collection

'Unseen Treasures' of The Portland Collection offers a new, revealing look at this world-class art collection.

For this display, visitors will enter a museum filled to the brim with fascinating art and objects, a giant cabinet of curiosities. There will be silver and tapestry, paintings and jewels, art that has come home after a long loan to a prestigious national gallery, and stunning star items that visitors know and love – such as Michelangelo’s ‘Madonna of Silence’ or the pearl earring worn by Charles I at his execution.

A highlight of the display is a Picture Gallery stacked with Tudor and Jacobean portraits - many of which have never been seen publicly before.

Lisa Gee, Director of The Harley Foundation, explains:

“It is said that a picture paints a thousand words, so what do these portraits tell us? Historic portraits were almost always flattering, filtered images which are like the social media of their day. But behind the gleaming fabrics and jewels were fully rounded individuals. Despite their starched clothing, they were as human as we are.”

Highlights from 'Unseen Treasures' of The Portland Collection include - Lady Margaret Stuart, Countess of Nottingham, by Paul van Somer, c.1620. A rarely shown portrait shows the Countess wearing an elaborate dress with an improbably plunging neckline. This was in the style of Queen Anne – it revealed her power and status, as well as her decolletage. 


Plan your visit

'Unseen Treasures' of The Portland Collection opened on the 25th of March, 2023 and will run for three years. The Museum is open six days a week and is free to enter. For further visitor information, click here