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.

Treasures From The East at Burghley

Burghley’s 2019 exhibition takes us on a journey around the Far East. William Cecil, the builder of Burghley House, was Queen Elizabeth I’s principal advisor and her Lord Treasurer. As such he took great interest in the expansion of foreign trade, particularly with the treasure-laden lands of the Far East.

Lord Burghley’s great atlas of 1570 illustrates the long sea voyages undertaken by early sailors. They held many dangers, but the rewards were great; the sea trade, initially in spices, developing to encompass a great range of beautiful and exotic luxury items: porcelains, semi-precious stones, lacquerwork, exquisite mother-of-pearl and delicately carved ivories. These were previously unknown in Europe and were destined to have a significant influence on Western culture. Many such items were collected by William Cecil’s descendants during the centuries that followed. The Special Exhibition shown in the Treasury Gallery during 2019 will illustrate their taste for the exotic.


‘Capability’ Brown at Burghley

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s Tercentenary in 2016 celebrated the life of the ‘father of landscape architecture’ and while he worked on many sites, Burghley provides a shining example of both his gardening and building skills.
Brown largely designed the parkland and gardens during the 18th century, but England’s greatest Elizabethan house also provides a less well-known aspect of the celebrated landscaper’s life – his architecture.
Believed to be his longest commission, during which he not only landscaped the grounds but also constructed buildings, Brown later recalled his work at the house – on the edge of the Georgian stone town of Stamford – as “25 years of pleasure”. Our dedicated exhibition and information leaflet shows his work at Burghley in the context of his career and the parkland where his work can still enjoyed.

A Loan Exhibition of Splendid Roman Statuary

Since 2016 Burghley has been delighted to display an important collection of Roman statuary, dating from the 2nd and 3rd Centuries A.D. The statues come from the collection of Ernst August, hereditary Prince of Hanover and were purchased in Italy during the mid-18th Century by his ancestor, Count Johann Ludwig von Wallmoden-Gimborn (1736-1811), an illegitimate son of King George II.

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown worked for the 9th Earl of Exeter for 23 years, completely redesigning the Park and Gardens and also making important changes to the architecture of Burghley itself. One of his designs was for the rustication of the well of the Hell Staircase to make it suitable for the display of sculptures collected by Lord Exeter on his two Grand Tours, which were undertaken at almost the same dates as those taken by Prince Johann Ludwig. The loaned Wallmoden statues have since joined those from the Burghley Collection, and have been on show to visitors in the Hell Stairwell for the last few years.