Abbot Hall Art Gallery

inside Abot Hall Art Gallery
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The award-winning Abbot Hall Art Gallery is a Grade 1 listed building with a national reputation for showing world-class contemporary and historic works.

Conveniently located in the town centre, Abbot Hall enjoys a pretty riverside setting. Just a stone's throw from the leafy Abbot Hall Park and Kendal Parish Church, it makes for a fascinating and inspiring day out for all ages.

Venue Type:

Gallery, Historic house or home

Opening hours

Monday - Saturday 10.30am - 5pm (closing 4pm Nov - Feb)

Admission charges

Adult £7.70 (without donation £7.00)
Children and Students FREE

Collection details

Archives, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Music, Personalities, Social History

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

The Great Picture Triptych, 1646

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

This monumental painting which is nearly 5 meters wide, presents the family history and accomplishments of Lady Anne Clifford using a combination of portraiture, text and symbolism.

The left panel of the triptych depicts Lady Anne Clifford at the age of fifteen, when she was disinherited. The inclusion of portraits and books highlight Lady Anne’s education and refined upbringing.

The central panel depicts Lady Anne’s parents, Margaret Russell and George Clifford, third Earl of Cumberland, with her older brothers who did not survive to adulthood. On the walls behind the family group hang portraits of Lady Anne’s four aunts. As Lady Anne was not born until 1590, she does not appear in the central panel as such, but Lady Margaret’s gesture hints that the daughter who would ultimately become the Clifford heir had already been conceived at the time of the original painting.

The right panel shows Lady Anne in late middle age, when she finally regained the Clifford estates. Portraits of Lady Anne’s two husbands hang behind her. The depiction of Lady Anne at fifty-six was used as the model for many subsequent portraits and is probably the only likeness in The Great Picture to have been painted from life.

The triptych is a composite work by a skilled copyist working from miniatures, portraits and whatever gowns and armour were still in Lady Anne’s possession. The piece has been attributed to Jan van Belcamp (1610-1653), a Dutch artist active in England who was a specialist in this genre.

Suitable for

  • Any age


George Romney

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

On display in the Georgian interiors downstairs at Abbot Hall is a selection of works by George Romney (1734-1802), one of the greatest of all eighteenth-century portrait painters. Starting in the Dining Room, Romney’s early career in Kendal is described through paintings that show him developing his style and growing in confidence as an independent artist: from the beautiful colouration and awkward elegance of his early full length portraits, through to the experimental light effects of The Artist’s Brother James Holding a Candle (1761) and his grand Shakespearean ‘history’ painting, King Lear in the tempest tearing off his Robes (1762).

Suitable for

  • Any age



Julian Cooper: Paintings from 1970 to 2017

  • 7 April — 2 July 2017 *on now

Abbot Hall is delighted to present an exhibition of work by Cumbrian artist Julian Cooper on the occasion of his 70th birthday. The show comprises 30 monumental paintings that serve as a powerful distillation of his extensive output over the last 45 years, ranging from domestic-sized works less than a metre tall to enormous canvases nearly three metres wide. The diversity of scale and subject matter in the show reflect the artist’s own travels – although generally associated with the Lake District, where he grew up as part of a dynasty of Lakeland painters, his work has been inspired by trips to South America, the Alps, the Himalayas, the quarries of Tasmania and Carrara, as well as literary voyages of the imagination.

The exhibition traces the evolution and development of Cooper’s art throughout his career. It starts with works that could be characterised as a form of abstraction with figurative elements, before continuing with figurative paintings that incorporate social, political, historical and literary devices. The work then evolves again into a unique form of representation that is frequently near-abstract in its emphasis on the texture, shadow and irregular surfaces of rock and ice. In his more recent canvases, the artist has returned to the Cumbrian landscape to engage at close hand with the relationship between rock, trees and vegetation.

The exhibition is in partnership with Art Space Gallery, London.

The exhibition is sponsored by Rathbone Investment Management

Suitable for

  • Any age


Adults £7.70/£7 (without Gift Aid)
Children and Students FREE


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Art Camp at Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Art Camp

  • 24 — 28 July 2017
  • 14 — 18 August 2017

A week of hands-on exciting activities exploring art and history for 8 – 14 year olds. Go behind the scenes at Abbot Hall and immerse yourself in Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons at Blackwell. Get creative and crafty, unleash your inner Swallow and achieve an Arts Award by the end of the week!

Art Camp 1 runs from 24-28 July but if you miss it, the activities are repeated in Art Camp 2 from 14-18 August.

For insurance purposes, children must be 8 years (or older) on the first day of Art Camp.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13
  • 14-15

Additional info

Cafe, toilets and shop available on site.


£150 for 5 days


Abbot Hall Art Gallery
Abbot Hall


Our website for what's on, the cafe, information for your visit and more.



01539 722464

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.