David Starkey guest curates new exhibition with new items on display

Attractions, Castle, History

David Starkey curates Hever Castle


Items not previously on display at Hever Castle will form part of a major collection change guest curated by historian David Starkey.

Through 18 original portraits hung in dynastic order the story of the Tudors will be told. All the portraits in the Long Gallery will be bordered by fabric (as was tradition at the time) with coloured trim depicting whether they were from the York, Lancaster or Tudor family.

The Long Gallery created in 1506 by Thomas Boleyn will be transformed with new lighting, both for the room and the paintings, and the ornate plasterwork that adorns the Long Gallery ceiling painted a softer off-white to give the effect of lime wash.

Visitors will also have a chance to see items not previously on display. These include a portrait of Elizabeth Woodville, the grandmother of Henry VIII, who was an influential figure in ending the Wars of the Roses and thus the start of the Tudor dynasty.

The oil painting of Elizabeth Woodville attributed to the English School depicts her in a widow’s veil. It will be displayed next to her husband Edward IV in the Long Gallery.

Pictures of Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI and Edward IV which were previously display in the Tudor Suite Dining Room and only seen by guests at the 5* bed and breakfast will also be part of the Long Gallery exhibition.

Also on display in the Long Gallery will be a 17th century Doge’s hat. A doge was the elected Lord of the Italian city-state of Venice.

The hat, which will be on display in a glass cabinet, was one which belonged to former owner William Waldorf Astor and has not been on display in over a decade.

It will form part of a display of religious vestments which include a 16th century ceremonial gauntlet and a 15th century bishop’s mitre.

Dr Starkey will also be voicing a new multimedia device which will deliver an essential guide to understanding the impact that the Tudor family made on English history.

The new collection offers a chance to concentrate on the Tudor history of the Castle and the story of the sequence of tumultuous events that changed the course of Britain’s history, monarchy and religion.

Dr Starkey has previously stated that “Hever Castle has one of the best collection of Tudor portraits after the National Portrait Gallery”. He praised the current owners, the Guthrie family, for their ongoing acquisition of artwork and said that it was an “enormous achievement at a time when most houses are diminishing their collections”.

Visitors will be able to see the new permanent exhibition from early October.

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