The Furniture Collection

Woburn Abbey

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Tuesday 30 October 2018



Sir John Russell, created Earl of Bedford in 1550, was granted Woburn Abbey in 1547 through the will of Henry VIII, and it became the family’s principal seat in the 1620s.  Elevated to a Dukedom in 1694, there have been fifteen Dukes so far and many have left their mark on this remarkable house.  Woburn Abbey contains not only splendid State Rooms but also an amazing series of treasures which we shall have the exclusive opportunity to explore at a time when the house is closed to the public.

One of the most significant private art collections in the world is housed here, as well as exquisite eighteenth century French and English furniture, magnificent silver and gold collections in the underground vaults, and a marvellous range of porcelain with many privately collected items treasured by generations of the Russell family. 

Our Woburn Abbey Study Day sequence continues in October when we return to this spectacular house, this time to look at the superlative collection of furniture and decorative arts accumulated by the Russell family over the last five centuries.

Truly ‘ducal’ in terms of the range and quality of the objects commissioned or purchased, these will include: masterpieces of English and French eighteenth century cabinet work by craftsmen such as Pierre Langlois, Adam Weisweiler and Pierre-Claude Montigny, as well as English Rococo seat furniture and pier glassses by the workshops of Whittle and Norman made for the 4th Duke, together with early nineteenth century treasures acquired by the 6th Duke.

We have the great pleasure of sharing the expertise and passion of Matthew Hirst, the Curator of Woburn Abbey and its collections since October 2015. He is a specialist in historic interiors and decorative arts and has worked in country house collections for his whole career including the Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor and the Devonshire collection at Chatsworth. 

This Study Day will begin with morning coffee, followed by a lecture given by Woburn’s Curator, Matthew Hirst.  After a two-course lunch with wine we separate into two smaller groups - to have a private tour of the house and a 'behind the ropes' experience with Matthew and his Assistant Curator, Victoria Poulton.

Afternoon tea is included before departure at the end of what will be a fascinating and privileged day’s activities.

The day is strictly limited to 24 participants. 

  • Included: Morning Coffee, Morning Lecture, Lunch with wine, Connoisseur tour around the House with Woburn's Curator/Assistant Curator, Afternoon Tea.
  • Not included: Travel to/from Woburn
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