The Thomas More family portrait arriving at Montacute House

Nicholas Kratzer after Hans Holbein the Younger, oil on panel, late 16th century NPG 5245

A new display has opened at Montacute House in Somerset, the result of an exciting collaboration between the National Trust, National Portrait Gallery and University of Bristol. Pictured and Seen focuses on the relationship between objects and their representation in sixteenth and seventeenth-century British portraiture.  A special option on the university’s MA course in art history offered students a unique opportunity to work with the National Trust and National Portrait Gallery on the interpretation accompanying the display, and the chance to share their research with a wider audience. 

This mixed media display - the first time that all three institutions have jointly lent to an exhibition - features glass, books and scientific instruments alongside portraits rich in objects such as that of Nicholas Kratzer (right).  The Gallery’s vast portrait of the family and descendants of Sir Thomas More is also included.  Shown above arriving at the house, the challenging installation of this portrait has been amply rewarded by its impact in the house.
A similar, later, clock to that shown in the portrait is
displayed alongside.  The sound of its ticking and
hourly strike brings the domestic setting of both the
portrait and the Long Gallery to life, filling the space
with sound long after the visitors have left.

Sir Thomas More, his family and descendants, 1593, NPG 2765 with an early 18th century lantern clock from the collections at Tintinhull House (National Trust No.1138132)

The Pictured & Seen display will remain in the Long Gallery until November 2015.  For details of house opening times please see: Link here.


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16 July 2015, 18:51

Saw with great interest your announcement about Pictured & Seen. As this was listed below the Thomas More family picture, I assumed that it was included in the exhibition. I, therefore, arranged a special trip to Somerset from Yorkshire especially to see this exhibition and glean the knowledge that the students had found about the objects in the The More Family painting. With mounting excitement I reached the very last room in Montacute House and found the picture - only to discover that there was NO information about the symbolism of the objects in that painting. Whilst I enjoyed the exhibition itself, I was absolutely devastated to find no information whatsoever on the Thomas More family and symbolism. Asking the Room Guides revealed that, they too, had no information. Can you please let me know if you have the findings that I was hoping to get in Somerset and, if so, would it be possible for you to send me a copy?