The Portland Collection

CompanyHugh Broughton Architecrs
Lead DesignerHugh Broughton Architects
Design TeamAECOM Price & Myers Speirs + Major Ramboll Ridge Ronayne Design
PrizeSilver in Architectural Design / Heritage Architecture

The Portland Collection is one of Britain’s finest private collections of paintings, sculpture, books, tapestries and furniture. It was assembled by the Cavendish-Bentinck family, who has lived at Welbeck Abbey for over 400 years. Historically the majority of items have been privately displayed, but in 2012 the family decided to build a gallery to show the Collection to the public. They called for “a new gallery to exhibit fine and decorative 
arts, which would complement the existing work of the neighboring Harley Gallery and the historic interiors of the main house”. The new gallery is housed within the old walls of the Tan Gallop, a redundant structure, which was previously used for training racehorses. Externally, elevations have been crisply detailed in handmade Danish brick, which contrasts with and complements original stone walls. Protruding barrel vaulted zinc roofs provide a dynamic roofline, evoking silhouettes of the Abbey and hinting at the drama within. Visitors enter through a steel frame glazed entrance pavilion, which provides a light and airy threshold. Within the entry pavilion, the original stone walls of the Gallop have been exposed to view. A limestone-clad reception desk sits in front of three full height windows with views to a mature landscape to the north. The first gallery that visitors enter is 72ft long set under a barrel vault roof, seemingly cut in half by a full length translucent rooflight, filling the space with diffuse light and creating the perfect environment to display oil portraits. At the far end a doorway leads to a vitrine of gold and silver, creating an alluring termination to views. From this enclosed space visitors emerge into a large gallery, sub-divided into three zones. Two are lit by north lights and one features low ceilings and controlled lighting for the display of miniatures.