The Harley Foundation announces ‘Treasures’ tours of Welbeck Abbey’s State Rooms

by | 21 January 2023 | Art, Heritage, Worksop

The Harley Foundation on the historic Welbeck estate have announced limited ‘Treasures’ tours of the State Rooms at Welbeck Abbey which will take place in March and April.

The Harley Foundation is an arts charity which was founded by Ivy, Duchess of Portland in 1978. It runs a vibrant education programme and contemporary art gallery – as well as a museum dedicated to the Portland’s family’s world-class art collection and tours of their country seat, Welbeck Abbey.

The ‘Treasures’ tours are running to accompany the launch of a new exhibition in the museum, ‘Treasures of The Portland Collection’, which will open on 25th March.

These tours will give visitors the opportunity to visit the family home and see further works of art from this astonishing historic art collection.

Welbeck Abbey began as a monastery and, following the dissolution, was bought by Bess of Hardwick’s son, Charles Cavendish (her other son, William, owned Chatsworth). It has remained the home of his descendants ever since – a family who were later to become the Dukes of Portland.

This stately home is open only on selected days through the year as it is still the family’s private residence.

Visitors to the ‘Treasures’ tours will enjoy a guided walk around the State Rooms. They will be able to imagine life as an Edwardian aristocrat as they explore the rooms decorated by the 6th Duke and Duchess of Portland. Visitors will see the art and architecture that was used to entertain the Duke and Duchess’ high-profile guests – including Kings, Queens, and world leaders.

Highlights of the tour include:

  • The Gothic Hall, with its soaring intricate plasterwork ceiling and imposing full length portrait paintings
  • The Red Tapestry Drawing Room, where you’ll see bright pink Gobelins tapestries – as vivid as when they were woven over 200 years ago
  • The glamorous Swan Drawing Room, where floor to ceiling gilt framed Rococo mirrors reflect the gaze from dozens of family portraits

The tours are led by historians Hannah Marples and Laura Sherburn.
Hannah is a historic costumer, specialising in embroidery. She creates costume commissions, historically inspired embroideries, patterns and prints. You might have spotted her on the BBC’s ‘A Stitch in Time’.

Laura is a historian with a specialist interest in William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle (1593 – 1676) and the social history of the English Civil War. She is currently studying for a Masters degree in Early Modern History.

‘Treasures’ tours of the State Rooms at Welbeck Abbey will run at 10.00am and 1.30pm on 25th, 26th, 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st March, and 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th April.

Tours cost £30.00 per person and can be booked online at