Opening up the longest Long Gallery in England

29 Jan 2020


A rehang of portraits at Montacute House, the magnificent National Trust Tudor mansion just outside Yeovil, means the longest Long Gallery in England will be flooded with light to create an imposing space for visitors.
 
‘People always say “WOW” when they step into the Long Gallery,’ says Sonja Rogers, House & Collections Manager at Montacute House. ‘This work will increase that sense of awe, so that you really feel the status and splendour of this wonderful space.’
 
For more than 40 years, the National Trust has worked in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery to display Tudor and Jacobean portraits from the national collection in the Long Gallery and adjoining rooms, on the top floor of Montacute House. However, curtains had to be hung at either end of the Long Gallery in order to protect the paintings from strong sunlight, which can fade the bright colours in the paintings.
 
Now, six portraits are to be rehung in a new display in another part of Montacute House, meaning that the curtains can be removed to bring light into the space and reveal the imposing vistas that so impressed visitors and guests.  
 
Ms Rogers says: ‘It’ll be about glittering glass and sunshine, and views in and out.’
 
‘When Edward Phelips built the house in 1601, the idea was that at night, the Long Gallery would shine like a lantern out over the whole of the village. We will be able to stand, as I’m sure Edward Phelips did, looking out over the village and his garden; it will be a wonderful experience of light and 360-degree views.’
 
Portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery will continue to be displayed in other spaces in the house, so visitors can still come face to face with kings and queens, courtiers and explorers from the 16th and 17th centuries.
 
The work does mean that the Long Gallery and rooms on the first floor will be closed at different times through February and March 2020. For more information, please visit nationaltrust.org.uk/montacute-house.
 
Opening up the longest Long Gallery in England
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