Cannon Hall’s most sociable family brought to life in new exhibition

Cannon Hall was the home of the Spencer Stanhopes from the 17th century until the 1950s. Now, for the very first time, portraits of the family will be on display, offering a glimpse into their characters, lifestyle, and famous family connections.


The family history is fascinating and after much research using the large Spencer Stanhope archive, available to view at the Discovery Centre in Barnsley’s Town Hall, the portraits of the people have been brought to life. Stories and little-known facts about experiences above and below the stairs offer visitors an insight to who these people were.


Love, war, and often moving tales are represented in the artwork and objects on display and include Little Johns bow and items from the Napoleonic Wars. Newly conserved paintings explore the different stories of the men and women of the family.


Open from Saturday, 14 May until Sunday, 30 October the exquisite exhibition includes new portraits and objects that have been gifted in recent years by a descendant of the family to enrich the Cannon Hall Museum collections, some of which have never been seen before.


Free to enter the exhibition also offers the opportunity to explore the wider history of the Hall and be transported back to times of decadent Georgian splendour.


Lynn Dunning, Head of Barnsley Museums said: “The Spencer Stanhope family were fascinating.  Hugely talented, leaders in the Pre-Raphaelite art movement and with strong political views they were visionaries of the time. Their lifestyle was the epitome of Georgian splendour, and the exhibition really gives an insight into life above and below the stairs.  We are sure visitors will enjoy discovering more about this influential family.”