Newstead Abbey’s Collections

There are several of Nottingham’s important collections held at Newstead.

The two main collections held are the costume collection & our Byron collection.

Our collections are not on permanent display.  If you would like to speak to one of our keepers or to arrange a visit to see our items please use the form below and it will be forwarded on to the correct person.

‘Little’ Sir John Byron at the age of 73

painted by an unidentified artist in 1599

‘Little Sir John with the Great Beard’ was an ancestor of the poet Byron. He inherited Newstead from his father, to whom it had been granted by Henry VIII, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1577. This portrait was made in the year of his wife’s death and is the earliest authentic likeness of a member of the Byron family.

At Newstead from the time of its creation, it was among those family pictures owned by the poet Byron when he was in residence at the Abbey. By 1818 it was with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh, in whose apartments at St James’ Palace it remained until her death in 1851.  Sometime after this, it passed out of Byron family ownership and into obscurity.

Until its recent discovery in a private UK collection, it was known only from two early 19th century copies: an enamel miniature by Henry Bone (National Trust Collection) and a copy in oil on canvas made by an unidentified artist for Thomas Wildman soon after he purchased Newstead Abbey in 1818. Wildman’s copy remained at the Abbey until 1930 when it was presented to the Byron family.

Purchased in 2015 with the assistance of the Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund

Supported by the Art Fund

Grant-aided by the Friends of the Nottingham Museums

With donations also from visitors and a generous donation from Mrs Rosalys Coope.

Kashif Nadim Chaudry explores the Costume Collection at Newstead Abbey

Film by Axis Web

In summer 2015, artist Kashif Nadim Chaudry took part in The Dreaming House exhibition at Newstead Abbey, home of the poet Lord Byron. Newstead also houses Nottingham City Museums and Galleries’ important collection of Costume and Textiles and Nadim was invited to explore it during four behind-the-scenes visits.



Further collections sought

Newstead Abbey’s Curators are always looking for more information about the site. If you know of any objects associated with the Abbey or any maps, plans, descriptions, photographs, correspondence or other records relating to its history and the people associated with it, please get in touch.

Collections contact form