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Special exhibitions allow items to be displayed in a new and intimate context.

The Treasury is a purpose-built display area which gives the opportunity for a series of special exhibitions that focus upon areas of the collection that cannot usually be displayed in the staterooms.

In recent years there have been exhibitions of the world famous Burghley collection of Chinese snuff bottles, rare Japanese Kakiemon ceramics, of treasures from the Elizabethan period, European ceramics and a stunning collection of Japanese Lacquer.


Oriental Ceramics at Burghley

This year’s exhibition is the tenth to be held in the Treasury and continues the theme of displaying objects that are not normally seen by visitors.

The collections of Oriental porcelains at Burghley are world famous, thanks largely to two very early documents that greatly increased our knowledge of furnishing and decoration of the House, and also helped scholars to determine the period in which porcelains in particular were being collected in this country.  The first was an inventory written in 1688 by Culpepper Tanner, Steward to the 5th Earl of Exeter, which painstakingly records the contents of each room during a period of great collecting by the family.  The second, The Devonshire Schedule of 1690 itemises a massive bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire to her daughter Anne, who had married John, 5th Earl of Exeter in 1670. Many Chinese and some Japanese ceramics are listed therein.

The exhibition is arranged in two sections, in order to show the differences in form and decorative styles between porcelains from China and those of Japan.

The House at War

Mention the Great War and images of bomb-cratered, muddy battlefields with lines of trenches comes to mind, but on the home front Burghley played its part. As a Red Cross hospital it provided respite care and rehabilitation for over 450 injured soldiers. Our exhibition, ‘The House at War’, offers a brief glimpse into this often forgotten side of the conflict.