The Gallery is housed in one of Kendal's most important buildings, a Grade I listed villa, on the banks of the River Kent. The galleries offer two floors of light-filled spaces in which to see art.
Abbot Hall has a comprehensive collection of George Romney's work. His paintings are hung in the elegant historical settings for which they were painted, amongst fine 18th-century furniture and porcelain. Watercolours are shown in a small gallery reminiscent of a collector's private room, with regularly changing displays that allow a Turner to be seen alongside a Ruskin or a Constable sketch next to works by the likes of Cotman, Cozens and Edward Lear.
Abbot Hall has been one of the most active galleries collecting British art in recent years and important works have been acquired, ranging from a Turner watercolour of Windermere to portraits by Stanley Spencer and abstract paintings by Bridget Riley and Sean Scully. Abbot Hall has also secured some spectacular long-term loans, including works by Constable, L. S. Lowry and Lucian Freud.
As well as a fine permanent collection, Abbot Hall is acknowledged as having one of the most imaginative and independently minded temporary exhibition programmes outside London.
The Museum takes you back through time to explore the story of the Lake District and its inhabitants. Isolated before the arrival of the railway and motorcar, this area developed its own unique customs and traditions. Recreated period rooms and workshops reveal how rural people lived and worked and played and how different life was before the introduction of machinery. Discover a Lake District kitchen, complete with traditional recipes and utensils, a bedroom full of vernacular furniture and furnishings – including a magnificent 17th century four-poster bed, a farmhouse parlour with a working phonograph and rare 18th century oak panelling.