National Trust, Wimpole Hall

National Trust

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Wimpole Hall is an impressive mansion, bequeathed by Elsie Kipling (1896–1976), Mrs George Bambridge. It has housed the historic collections of Edward (1689–1741), Lord Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford, who commissioned James Thornhill to decorate the Hall’s chapel with the altarpiece showing 'The Adoration of the Magi', and that of the Earls of Hardwicke, the first of whom bought Wimpole in 1740, although all their collections had to be dispersed in the 1880s. Wimpole never become the main seat of the Agar-Robartes family, whose family bank, as Lord Hardwicke's chief creditors, acquired the house in 1894. When they left in 1936, they took whatever pictures they had introduced, together with one or two belonging to Wimpole, to National Trust, Lanhydrock in Cornwall. The collection that is seen today is that of Captain George Bambridge (1892–1943). He bought British and unusual Continental pictures, including William Frederick Witherington's 'A Modern Picture Gallery' of 1824, which had been both an anthology, and a plea for the patronage of contemporary British art, painted in the year of the foundation of the National Gallery. Another of Bambridge’s acquisitions was the stunning Tissot of a forthright independent active woman, 'The Crack Shot', once owned by Adriano de Murrieta, Marquès de Santurce. Bambridge's wife Elsie, who had inherited the royalties from her father Rudyard Kipling’s books in 1936, continued, after her husband’s death, to buy mainly works that reflected her passion for Wimpole.

Arrington, Royston, Cambridgeshire SG8 0BW England

01223 206000

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