Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Kirkland, Kendal, LA9 5AL
Abbot Hall Exterior

Abbot Hall Exterior © Tony West

Housed in a restored Georgian hall that has its own fascinating history, the art gallery at Abbot Hall offers visitors the opportunity to spend a couple of hours admiring some of Britain’s finest water-colourists from the 18th and 19th centuries, in addition to a collection by modern artists, such as David Hockney and Lucien Freud.

The gallery is located in the centre of Kendal, and is adjacent to the Museum of Lakeland Life.

Planning Your Visit

Contact Details:
01539 722 464 / Website
Cost:
Adults £7.70, Children 6-16 years by Donation, Children Under 5 Free
Seasonal Opening:
All Year
 

History

The art gallery is located on the former site of the residence of the Abbot before Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries campaign. The original building was destroyed in this campaign, but rebuilt in 1759 by Colonel George Wilson as a family home.

Abbot Hall changed ownership several times over the centuries, before being purchased by the local council in 1897 with a view to turning the grounds into a public park. Whilst the building remained in use by local businesses, it fell into a state of disrepair until the mid-20th century, when it was restored by a local trust and opened as an art gallery in 1962.

Things To See

AH Collection - John Ruskin, Rocks & Ferns, 1847

AH Collection - John Ruskin, Rocks & Ferns, 1847

In addition to a regularly changing collection of exhibits that has previously included works by Turner, Collingwood, and Picasso, the gallery has a permanent collection of art, primarily from the 18th and 19th centuries. There is a large collection of works by George Romney, who was born in Cumbria in 1734 and became popular for his portraits of notable members of high society.

Other local artists with works on display include John Ruskin, famed for both his watercolours and writings. In addition, there are a number of watercolours depicting the beautiful Cumbrian landscapes by noted artists who visited the area seeking inspiration, including J R Cozens, Edward Lear, and J M W Turner.

Abbot Hall Art Gallery is also recognised as being a haven for modern art, and this is reflected not only in its visiting exhibitions, but also in its permanent collection that includes art from the St Ives School, Kurt Schwitters, as well as lithographs from Pablo Picasso.

Useful Information

  • There is a gallery shop where you can purchase prints, stationary and art equipment, as well as gifts and books.
  • There is also a coffee house serving light lunches and cakes baked in house.
  • The gallery has lift access to all three floors.

Map

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