Abbot Hall Art Gallery

The collections at this Grade I-listed building include portraits by George Romney and Daniel Gardner, watercolours and drawings by John Ruskin, and furniture by Gillows of Lancaster.

Abbot Hall was built in 1759 by Colonel George Wilson, whose family owned a large house and country estate nearby. In spite of the trouble and expense, it seems Wilson was displeased with his new home and he and his wife left after just a couple of years.

After passing through several other owners, the hall fell into disrepair and by the 1950s it was facing demolition. A group of local people came together to raise the money to save the Grade I-listed building, which they decided should be an art gallery. 

Permanent collections

Abbot Hall holds many fine examples of 18th- and 19th-century painting, as well as a substantial collection of work by Ruskin. Modern artists include German refugee Kurt Schwitters, who also had a local connection – spending his final years in the area – while contemporary works by Bridget Riley, David Hockney and Lucian Freud are also shown.


Art we've helped buy at Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Venue details

Abbot Hall Art Gallery Abbot Hall, Kendal Cumbria LA9 5AL 01539 722464 www.abbothall.org.uk

Entry details

Free with National Art Pass (standard entry charge to permanent collection is is £6.35)

50% off exhibitions with National Art Pass

2 Jan – Mid Dec
Mon – Sat, 10.30am – 5pm (4pm Nov - Feb)
Sun until 14 Feb, 12pm - 4pm

Reviews (1)

  • Peter, Worcester
  • 23 August 2016 - 14:36Edited 14:37 23/08/2016
  • The permanent collection cannot be seen separately for free if there is an exhibition on. I have been disappointed twice this year. First visit, we were not Art Fund members, paid the full price but did not see the watercolour in the collection because they were 'not out'. There had been no information to this effect before we paid. Went again today, told could not see permanent collection free because of exhibition. Exhibition ends mid October! I get the impression I shall never see those watercolours. I think this is a little dishonest and I hope not representative of other ArtFund venues