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New Harley Gallery to open in March 2016 with rarely seen work by Michelangelo
Michelangelo Buonarroti, Madonna del Silenzio, c. 1538. © The Portland Collection.

WORKSOP.- The new Harley Gallery at Welbeck, Nottinghamshire, opens on 20 March 2016. Designed by Hugh Broughton Architects, known for their award-winning Halley VI Antarctic Research Station, the new gallery will house changing displays of the historic Portland Collection.

The new 800 square meters building includes a glazed entrance pavilion and two spacious galleries. The Picture Gallery has a barrel-vaulted ceiling divided in two to allow light to fill the space from above. The Treasury Gallery provides a flexible display space to show light-sensitive objects.

The new gallery will showcase masterpieces from the Portland Collection, including:

• Michelangelo’s rarely seen Madonna del Silenzio (c.1538) will go on show for the first time in fifty years

• The pearl earring worn by Charles I at his execution in 1649

• The Portland Tiara by Cartier worn by Winifred, Duchess of Portland

• George Stubbs painting of the 3rd Duke of Portland on horseback outside the stables of Welbeck

• The Coronation Miniature, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I by Nicholas Hilliard which is part of the collection of over 400 miniatures

William Parente, grandson of The 7th Duke of Portland, said: “Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire have not had an easy time economically since the pit closures, and everyone locally, businesses, council, private individuals, has had to work very hard to make things happen. Trying to make the area a more attractive place to visit is obviously important, and as part of this we felt that the time had come to welcome the public to see the Portland Collection. It has been painstakingly assembled by my family over the last 400 years or so. These things are our history; each generation learns from them and adds to them as they can. But they are also part of our collective history as people: they chart the way people, places, tastes and society have changed over the centuries – everyone should be able to enjoy them.”

The inaugural displays will include miniature portraits selected by Sir Peter Blake, showing 20 March to 31 August 2016. The Portland Collection has one of the largest and most significant privately owned collections of miniatures in the country.

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