Cumberland Art Gallery highlights

Duccio di Buoninsegna

Triptych: Crucifixion and other Scenes, c1302-8

Christ is at the centre, but this work is about his mother, the Virgin Mary, who appears four times. Duccio skilfully painted her emotions so that the viewer could identify with her sorrows, acceptance and trusting faith. This altarpiece was for private use. Its hinged sides originally closed like doors to protect and conceal the painting. When opened for prayer by candlelight, the gold leaf glowed and shimmered, evoking the riches of heaven.

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Sir Anthony van Dyck

Portrait of Mary, Princess Royal and later Princess of Orange, c1637

Court artists worked directly for the royal family. Van Dyck’s portrait of the 6-year-old daughter of Charles I is a statement of dynastic wealth – the expensive lace, pearls and gold damask curtain – but also a delightful image of a little girl with her hands clasped uncertainly in front of her silver apron, attempting a mature pose beyond her years.

Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to Historic Royal Palaces, 2008.

Rembrandt van Rijn

An Old Woman, called ‘The Artist’s Mother’, c1627-9

Rembrandt’s painting is a timeless and moving record of old age. The hooded eyes, thinning lips and the loose and creased folds of skin are all exaggerated and highlighted, designed to evoke our pity and perhaps a sense of our own mortality. Such paintings, virtuoso exercises of imagination, also brilliantly displayed Rembrandt’s talent, and helped establish his reputation.

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020.

Portrait of Rembrandt's mother, painted by the artist. The figure wears an exotic deep purple hood with a fur mantle over a dark dress culminating in an embroidered white chemise. The tone of the painting is sombre, but it is offset by the parchment pallor of the skin, the colour of the chemise and the yellow embroidery of the hood.

Jan Brueghel the Elder

A Flemish Fair, 1600

Brueghel’s colourful depiction of a street party is also a celebration of the happiness of a society at peace. The Dutch Republic had declared independence from Spanish rule in 1581, heralding a ‘Golden Age’ of Dutch art and culture. This painting is a statement of national pride. It shows how a well-ordered society should be, but it is also an incident-packed description of town life, full of delightful detail.

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020.

A painting by Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1600 that hangs in Cumberland Art Gallery, Hampton Court Palace. A festival with dancing peasants and other figures on a country road.
Frank Holl: No Tidings From the Sea, 1870 Oil on canvas Royal Collection RCIN405161

Frank Holl

No Tidings from the Sea, 1870

Victorian artists drew on a long legacy of narrative art. This painfully emotional scene captures a family’s desolation after the death of a fisherman. Holl’s muted colours and the quiet grief of each of the figures is relieved only by the mystical light around the bright white shirt of the young girl, a sign of hope and an echo of the religious symbolism of earlier artworks.

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018.

A diamond and emerald tiara mounted on a frame on a plain background
Things to see

See Queen Victoria's beautiful tiara and jewellery on display at Kensington Palace.


Kensington Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

A guide shows a group of visitors the Throne Room in the State Rooms at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. Two red and gold thrones sit at one end of the room and the walls are lined with green silk damask and the walls are lined with historical artwork.
Things to see

Discover elegant State Rooms still used by the royal family inside Hillsborough Castle.


Hillsborough Castle

Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

Throne Room with silk green damask walls, wooden floor and large rug. Two red and gold Chairs of State, or 'thrones' are situated at the far end of the room. Gold-framed paintings of landscapes adorn the walls and three large chandeliers hang above.
Things to see

Explore the ceremonial heart of the castle, where Her Majesty The Queen received guests at a coronation ball in 1953.


Hillsborough Castle

Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

Henry VIII gauntlet armour oven glove made from Cotton twill with polyester thermal

Henry VIII gauntlet armour oven glove

This fun oven glove has been inspired by a suit of armour made for Henry VIII in 1540, which is on display at the Tower of London.