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Cliveden and Hughenden take centre stage in second series of BBC TV’s Hidden Treasures of the National Trust

| May 8, 2024

Cliveden and Hughenden are to take centre stage in second series of BBC TV’s Hidden Treasures of the National Trust.

Airing from Friday 10th May 2024, Hughenden and Cliveden will be central stories when Hidden Treasures of the National Trust returns to the BBC for a second series.

Scheduled for 9pm on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, the programme will reveal new and compelling stories about the work going on behind the scenes of the National Trust to conserve incredible objects and properties and the passionate staff and volunteers who care for them.

Each episode explores a different central theme, linking the houses, their histories, and collections as they undergo conservation. From graceful Georgian homes that were platforms for political power, to houses that become display cases for the curious collections of their owners and properties designed as show-homes for the English country house idyll.

Cliveden will be one of the locations, featuring in episode 2. Viewers will get to go behind the scenes with specialist conservators as they restore the century-old brilliance of John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Cliveden resident, Nancy Astor. They also go to work with the statue cleaners, ably led by 94-year old volunteer, John, and find out about a special species of snail only found in the UK at Cliveden and Cotehele.

Ben Alsop, National Trust curator, said: ‘Hidden Treasures has allowed us to highlight not only the care and skill that goes into the conservation of our remarkable collections but also offered us the opportunity to learn more about their creation and the fascinating people that once owned them.

Hughenden features in episode 5, which looks at Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli’s ‘spare chair’. This was a chair that he commissioned so that he could be carried aloft in victory after his 1832 election campaign. He lost each time he stood as a radical candidate, so his chair was never used. The episode also features the restoration of Disraeli’s carriage gates with a specialist blacksmith.

Robert Bandy, Hughenden House and Collections Manager, said: ‘It is really great to see such special objects, which speak so clearly to the character of Benjamin Disraeli, go back on display, and looking better than ever!

The six-part series will visit some of the National Trust’s best-known locations including Stourhead in Wiltshire and Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk as well as lesser-known treasures such as Mr Straw’s House, the time-capsule home of a grocer’s family in Nottinghamshire.

Alistair Pegg, BBC Arts Commissioning Editor, said: ‘I’m delighted to be delving behind the scenes once more at the National Trust, uncovering hidden histories of houses and their owners, secrets of the painstaking conservation carried out on beautiful objects and buildings, and the wonderful staff and volunteers who work, often unsung, across the country.

Tarnya Cooper, Curatorial and Conservation Director at the National Trust, said: ‘History comes to life before you at National Trust properties. Across hundreds of sites we have well over a million objects, which tell fascinating stories of the generations of people who commissioned, made and loved them.

Looking after such diverse objects and places takes dedicated teams of people as well as expert conservators, and we hope BBC viewers will enjoy learning more about them and their work on wonderful collections ranging from must-see paintings and furniture to books and textiles to amazing architectural features.

Cliveden is open from 9.30am to 5.00pm. Visitors can see Lady Astor’s portrait by joining a house tour (available to book on the day from the Information Kiosk at Cliveden).

Hughenden is open from 10am to 5.00pm every day. Visitors can see Disraeli’s spare chair along with an exhibition showcasing how Disraeli used Hughenden to further his political ambitions in the manor at Hughenden.

*Source of information : Press release from The National Trust.

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