A rarely-seen Michaelangelo masterpiece will go on display at the new Harley Gallery in Welbeck when it re-opens next March.
The Madonna del Silenzio (c.1538) will go on show for the first time in 50 years as on of the centrepieces of the history Portland Collection.
Other treasures on show will include the pearl earring worn by Charles I at his execution in 1649, the Portland Tiara by Cartier worn by Winifred, Duchess of Portland, George Stubbs’ painting of the Third Duke of Portland on horseback outside the stables of Welbeck and the Coronation Miniature, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I by Nicholas Hilliard which is part of the collection of over 400 miniatures.
“Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire have not had an easy time economically since the pit closures, and everyone locally, businesses, council, private individuals, has had to work very hard to make things happen,” said William Parente, grandson of the Seventh Duke of Portland.
“Trying to make the area a more attractive place to visit is obviously important, and as part of this we felt that the time had come to welcome the public to see the Portland collection.
“It has been painstakingly assembled by my family over the last 400 years or so.
“These things are our history; each generation learns from them and adds to them as they can.
“But they are also part of our collective history as people: they chart the way people, places, tastes and society have changed over the centuries .
“Everyone should be able to enjoy them.”
Designed by Hugh Broughton Architects, known for their award winning Halley VI Antarctic Research Station, the new gallery will house changing displays of the historic Portland Collection.
The new building includes a glazed entrance pavilion and two spacious galleries.
The picture gallery has a barrel-vaulted ceiling divided in two to allow light to fill the space from above.
The treasury gallery provides a flexible display space to show light-sensitive objects.
The inaugural displays, including miniatures chosen by Sir Peter Blake, will be on show from March to August.