Cumberland Art Gallery to open at Hampton Court Palace

Cumberland Art Gallery to open at Hampton Court Palace


28 October 2014

New gallery occupies recently restored Georgian suite at the heart of the Baroque palace

Opens 20 November

This November, a stunning new art gallery will open at Hampton Court Palace, occupying a newly restored suite of rooms designed by William Kent for a Georgian prince. The Cumberland Suite - one of the earliest surviving examples of the Gothic Revival style – is situated at the heart of the palace, where Tudor meets Baroque, and will now house changing displays of artworks, principally from the Royal Collection, reflecting the palace’s long history as a destination for the work of renowned artists.  

The rooms designed by William Kent for William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland, the youngest son of King George II, were the last major royal commission undertaken at Hampton Court. They will become a fitting backdrop for a display of treasures from the other legacy of Hampton Court’s royal residents: the Royal Collection.  This winter, to mark the opening of the gallery, visitors will discover a selection of the Collection’s finest paintings: masterpieces by Holbein, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Bassano and Gainsborough, and other artists who worked for, or were collected by, four centuries of royal patrons.

After two years of meticulous research, Kent’s Cumberland Suite has been returned as closely as possible to his original scheme.  The great architect created a suite of rooms for a young prince which embraced the latest Palladian fashions, but also took inspiration from the palace’s Tudor past.  One of the rooms, the Duke’s large light closet, will be opened to the public for the first time in 25 years, to display the 12 smaller ‘Grand Canal’ views of Venice painted by Canaletto at the zenith of his career.

Hampton Court Palace has a long history of displaying great works of art.  Over the centuries, successive monarchs filled the state apartments with splendid works of art for the private enjoyment of the royal family, or as imposing statements of regal authority.  Although the palace’s life as a royal residence came to an end in the eighteenth century, thousands of artworks, now part of the Royal Collection, are still in their original locations and form part of the story of the palace today. 

The Cumberland Art Gallery is a new dedicated space for artworks from the Royal Collection, and will enable visitors to view and explore them in a gallery setting.  The selection of paintings in our opening display broadly reflects the period of royal residency at Hampton Court, from the Tudor period to the middle years of the 1700s, when great royal collectors and connoisseurs, like King Charles I and Frederick Prince of Wales, assembled one of the largest and finest art collections of its kind in the world.

Notes for Editors

For more information and images, please contact Laura Hutchinson in the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office: 0203 166 6338.

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. These palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.  Registered charity number 1068852.  For more information, visit 

The Royal Collection is among the largest and most important art collections in the world, and one of the last great European royal collections to remain intact.  It is held in trust by the Sovereign for her successors and the nation, and not owned by Her Majesty as a private individual. The administration, care and presentation of the Collection are undertaken by Royal Collection Trust, part of the Royal Household, without recourse to public funds.

The Royal Collection comprises almost all aspects of the fine and decorative arts, and is spread among some 13 royal residences and former residences across the UK, most of which are regularly open to the public.  Around 15,500 works from the Collection are on long-term loan to over 150 institutions across the country. At The Queen’s Galleries in London and Edinburgh, aspects of the Collection are displayed in a programme of temporary exhibitions. Short-term loans are frequently made to exhibitions around the world as part of a commitment to public access and to show the Collection in new contexts.  For more information, visit

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