Abbot Hall Art Gallery

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The gallery is a Grade I listed building

Abbot Hall Art Gallery is a museum and gallery in Kendal, England. Abbot Hall was built in 1759 by Colonel George Wilson, the second son of Daniel Wilson of Dallam Tower, a large house and country estate nearby. It was built on the site of the old Abbot’s Hall, roughly where the museum is today. Before the Dissolution of the Monasteries this was where the Abbot or his representative would stay when visiting from the mother house of St Mary's Abbey, York.[1] The architect is unknown. During the early twentieth century the Grade I listed building was dilapidated and has been restored as an art gallery.


Lady Anne Clifford and her family in The Great Picture attributed to Jan van Belcamp

It has one of the most important collections of George Romney’s paintings in Britain and several of his sketchbooks and drawings. Paintings from the eighteenth century include a pair of views of Windermere by Philip James de Loutherbourg. There is also an important group of work by another local artist, Daniel Gardner. It has a significant collection of watercolours, mainly from the second half of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth centuries. Many of the greatest watercolourists of the period are represented, including John Robert Cozens, David Cox, Peter De Wint, John Sell Cotman, John Varley and Edward Lear as well as J. M. W. Turner's watercolours The Passage of Mount St. Gotthard and Windermere (1821).

In 2011 a triptych of Lady Anne Clifford, entitled The Great Picture (currently (2011) in the ownership of the Lakeland Arts Trust[2]) went on display.

The Victorian art critic and social commentator, John Ruskin, lived in the Lake District and the gallery has one of the most comprehensive collections of his drawings and watercolours. The modern collection concentrates more on painting but has sculptures by Barbara Hepworth, Jean Arp, and Elisabeth Frink. There are also works by Ben Nicholson, Kurt Schwitters, Bryan Wynter, Sean Scully, David Hockney, LS Lowry, Graham Sutherland, Victor Pasmore, David Bomberg, Hilde Goldschmidt and many others.

The gallery also has a display about English writer Arthur Ransome. His desk, typewriter and other memorabilia are exhibited. The gallery is also the official address of The Arthur Ransome Society.









  • Maggi Hambling, No Straight Lines: Waves and Waterfalls
  • Collecting the Past, Present & Future


  • David Bomberg
  • Morandi's Legacy: Influences on British Art
  • Drawing Inspiration: Contemporary British Drawing
  • The Oliver Thompson Collection of British Watercolours







  • Ruskin & the Light of Nature
  • Paula Rego
  • Goya - Etchings
  • Edward Weston - photography
  • The Art of the Feltmaker
  • Edgar Holloway & Friends
  • Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers
  • Matisse: Jazz
  • Conrad Atkinson
  • Pottery by William Plumptre




  • Sublime Inspiration


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Abbot Hall website Abbot Hall Official website
  2. ^ Bloxham, Andy (15 June 2011). "365-year-old aristocratic painting displayed whole for first time". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 June 2011.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°19′23″N 2°44′38″W / 54.32306°N 2.74389°W / 54.32306; -2.74389