Abbot Hall opens 16 February 2024 with a refreshed display of artwork from the exceptional Lakeland Arts collection. Shown within the recently refurbished Collection Galleries, spaces will be transformed with works of art created by some of the most globally recognised artists.

Historic artists and subjects will be shown alongside works from modern and contemporary eras, telling a diverse story of people and place. The artists on display range from 17th Century painters to contemporary artists of today. Highlights include work by George Romney, Joan Eardley, Lucian Freud, Hilde Goldschmidt, Victor Pasmore, Celia Paul, Kurt Schwitters, Stanley Spencer and Charmaine Watkiss.

The ground floor galleries will be filled with extraordinary art, inviting visitors to engage with the stories presented through the collection. The galleries will act as a social space to reflect, question and share ideas as a community. Kendal-based contemporary artist Lela Harris will exhibit a selection of thought-provoking portraits including two new acquisitions recently purchased for the collection. In 2023 Harris showcased her work at the Judges Lodgings Museum in Lancaster for her exhibition Facing the Past, which explored the untold histories of 6 black Lancastrians.

Highlights of the Abbot Hall display include George Romney’s (1734-1802) The Gower Family: The Children of Granville, 2nd Earl Gower. This large group portrait in the Lakeland Arts collection is regarded as George Romney’s masterpiece. You’ll also be able to see The Great Picture which depicts the accomplishments and family history of Lady Anne Clifford (1590-1676). Painted during the English Civil War, it is a rare celebration of the life of a woman from that period.

Helen Stalker, Associate Curator for Lakeland Arts, states “At Abbot Hall we are putting our extraordinary collection of visual art in the spotlight. Focussing on the exploration of landscape, ecology, and identity and with the collection at the heart of its programme, Abbot Hall is a space for new ideas, community conversations, wellbeing and research.

Within the Collection Galleries you will also find the Art Herbarium presenting artists’ depictions of flora and fauna from Abbot Hall’s collection. Drawings and paintings range from Winifred Nicholson’s exuberant vases of flowers to the illuminated letters of Cumbrian artist, Percy Kelly. With views out to one of Kendal’s green spaces, visitors are invited to consider the importance of biodiversity as well as the healing and inspiration that plants can bring us.

Listings information

Collection Galleries

16 February – 28 December 2024

Abbot Hall

Wednesday – Saturday, 10-4pm

The Collection Galleries are situated in galleries 1-4, on the ground floor of Abbot Hall. Galleries 5-11 are closed for rehanging and will reopen 23 March. Tickets are half price from 16 February – 22 March.

Admission tickets give visitors unlimited access to the gallery for 12 months, including exhibitions and displays. Lakeland Arts members go free.

Tickets will be available to book online at


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