Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 11am-5pm

Watson Road

Observatory Hill (The Rocks)

Prized Possessions

  • This event finished on 27 November 2022

12 – 27 November 2022

Prized Possessions brings together some of the finest pieces from the National Trust collections and is the first major exhibition of our works including the recently revealed Dutch masterpiece gifted to the National Trust in 1979 as part of the contents of the Woodford Academy in the Blue Mountains.

The painting was in storage for decades until conservation work revealed the signatures of Dutch 17th century painter Willem Claesz. Heda and his son, Gerrit Willemz. Heda and its date, 1640. Cleaning also revealed that beneath the discoloured varnish there was a beautifully preserved, richly coloured painting. So striking is the transformation that the picture seems a new acquisition. This exhibition celebrates the restoration with a focused presentation that includes a short film on the painting’s conservation treatment.

The exhibition will also highlight some magnificent examples from the Trust’s extensive collection from colonial engravings and watercolours and much more. 

The National Trust collection includes 60,000 objects of remarkable diversity of style, period and country of origin. The National Trust’s 20 house museums across NSW include many intact collections with direct provenance to a particular place. These collections are important as they provide visitors with the chance to glimpse back, and reflect the interests of the original inhabitants of the houses whether they were innkeepers, explorers or a governor.

The significance of the Trust’s collection also reflects the manner in which the work of art was acquired, with many items being gifts or bequests which tell us much about the tastes and personal stories of the donor – and what they considered their ‘prized possessions’.

Floor Sheet – Prized Possessions

Properties featured in the exhibition include objects from:

Saumarez, Armidale

Miss Traill’s House & Garden, Bathurst

Retford Park, Bowral

Bedervale, Braidwood

Lindesay, Darling Point

Norman Lindsay Gallery, Springwood

Riversdale, Goulburn

Old Government House, Parramatta

Golden Vale, Sutton Forrest

S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney

Woodford Academy, Woodford


image: Willem Claesz. Heda and , Gerrit Willemz. Heda, (Still life) 1640 oil on wood panels Collection: Woodford Academy, bequest of Gertrude McManamey 1979