Killerton's iconic portraits moved ahead of vital roof repairs

Authored by killerton
Posted Friday, February 10, 2017 - 1:32pm

After nearly 120 years, iconic portraits of the Acland family members, who lived in the Georgian mansion, have been moved as part of a new exhibition inside Killerton House, near Exeter.

Their relocation from the water damaged stairway means the National Trust can commence a vital project to repair the leaking roof and conserve the building.

The paintings, which include Killerton’s largest portrait, are some of the most significant objects in the house’s collection. For the first time since 1898, they have been carefully relocated from the stairway to protect them from the project work. When the house reopens on Saturday 11 February, visitors will be able to see the paintings up close as part of the new look exhibition. This includes a chance to stand ‘face to face’ with Killerton’s largest portrait of Sir Thomas Acland, the 10th Baronet, who stands over 11 feet high.

Phillip Smart, General Manager said: ‘The paintings on the stairs represent the original Acland hang - this is the first time that we have ever changed them. We are delighted to finally be telling the story of the special family who gave so much away for the benefit of the local area.’

In the new exhibition, visitors can learn more about key members of the Acland family, and their change in political beliefs that led to a huge decision – to give away the large Killerton estate for the enjoyment of everybody. The estate, which took 16 generations to build, included the Georgian mansion, over 6,400 acres of land, 250 cottages and 18 farms. Through their own words and letters, visitors will be able to find out what motivated their decision.

Until October, the large conservation project will focus on repairing the flat roof over the main house and pitched roof areas. Key conservation to exterior walls, roof lanterns, windows, chimneys and parapets will also be carried out as part the Trust’s ongoing commitment to care for Killerton.

The house will re-open 11 February but first floor of the house is closed due to the vital conservation work. This means that the fashion exhibition has taken a break, and will be back in 2018. There’s a small fashion exhibition online at, or you can follow Killerton on facebook, twitter or Instagram to see behind the scenes conservation work. Look out for special events throughout the year that will dig a little deeper into the history of Killerton and the Acland family.

To find out more, please visit for information about the project, or the Killerton website for opening and visitor information.

Caption: Staff at Killerton House, near Exeter, move pictures for first time in over 100 years to allow roof repairs to go ahead. Photo: National Trust/Malcolm Jarvis

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