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Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House

Jun 22, 2014 - Sep 21, 2014

Beck Building, Ground Floor
5601 Main Street Map & Directions

About the exhibition

For the first time, the renowned collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from Houghton Hall in England travels to the United States. The national tour of Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House opens at the MFAH.

Located in Norfolk, northeast of London, Houghton Hall houses one of the most extensive art collections in Britain. Old Master paintings, portraits by famed 18th- and 19th-century artists, exquisite examples of Sèvres porcelain, and pieces of legendary furniture chronicle three centuries of art, history, and politics.

Houghton Hall was built by England’s first prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, in the early 1700s and is the family estate of the Marquesses of Cholmondeley. Regarded as one of the finest Palladian houses, Houghton Hall became notorious when Walpole’s collection of Old Master paintings was sold by his grandson to Catherine the Great in 1779. But the house and all of its furnishings remained intact, and Walpole’s descendants added considerably to the collection.

Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House assembles more than 100 objects in settings that combine paintings, porcelain, sculpture, costume, metalwork, and furniture to evoke the stunning rooms at Houghton Hall. Among the highlights are great family portraits by William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, and John Singer Sargent; several dozen pieces of Sèvres porcelain; rare R. J. & S. Garrard silver objects; and unique furniture by William Kent. Following the Houston presentation, the exhibition travels to cities including San Francisco and Nashville.

In-Gallery Extra: Audio Tour
Enhance your exhibition experience and learn more about the artwork on view. You may purchase the optional audio tour at the admissions desks.

Explore Online
Visit for more on Houghton Hall's fascinating history and magnificent collection.

Related Books
Information about the exhibition catalogue, as well as other related publications, is available through The MFAH Shop (713.639.7360) and the Museum's Hirsch Library (713.639.7325).

Entrance to this exhibition is included with your Museum admission.
Museum members receive free general admission.

This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in collaboration with Houghton Hall. An indemnity has been granted by the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Generous funding is provided by:
Mary Lawrence Porter
Tony and Isaac Arnold, Jr.
Luther King Capital Management
The Vivian L. Smith Foundation