Houghton revisited

Over 70 paintings that once belonged to Great Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, are being reinstalled in their original home after 234 years away.

Houghton Hall

Glorious stately home Houghton Hall in Norfolk will exhibit Sir Robert Walpole’s painting collection, which includes works by Van Dyck and Rembrandt. They were sold in 1779 to Catherine the Great of Russia to adorn the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

Houghton Hall was built in order to house Walpole’s extensive collection of Old Masters and the new exhibition, which runs for just over four months this summer, will see each piece returned to its original position, meaning that visitors get a true insight into what the life of a wealthy 18th-century art fan would have been like. The William Kent interiors are still intact, which only adds to the authenticity of the house, now the family seat of Sir Robert Walpole’s direct descendant the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley.

“It is a thrilling to have the Walpole paintings back in their original positions at Houghton, thus recreating the interiors of State Rooms in their entirety; an idea that would have delighted past generations of my family,” says Lord Cholmondeley. “We look forward to welcoming you to Houghton.”

Houghton Revisited will run between 7 May until 29 September 2013.