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Department of History of Art


Boughton exterior

Boughton House, in Northamptonshire, is one of England’s great stately homes and houses one of the country’s finest private collections of art. Since 2012, the department has been developing a unique partnership in both teaching and research with Boughton and its owner the Duke of Buccleuch.

Boughton’s collections are remarkable, both for their range and quality and, in part due to historical accident, for their superb condition. The dukes of Buccleuch are based in Scotland and their Northamptonshire estate was visited by the family only rarely for generations until a sustained project of conservation and restoration begun under the stewardship of the present duke’s parents in the 1970s. For Duke Richard, the current owner, Boughton has become a lifelong project of heritage, restoration and rural enterprise.

The house and grounds offer magnificent opportunities for both teaching and research in everything from architectural history to landscape design, from the social history of art to archival research and connoisseurship.

Each spring, Part 1 students spend a study day at Boughton as part of the ‘Objects of Art History’ paper. There are then opportunities for Cambridge art history students to pursue further study at Boughton, whether as a focus for their undergraduate dissertation or as a subject of postgraduate research. Boughton offers Cambridge art historians magnificent hospitality and considerable resources, and the staff of the house work with those in the department to support students’ engagement with this world-class collection.

It is hoped that in due course collaboration between the Boughton and the department will increase further, with the possibility of major collaborative research projects, and use of the house, its grounds and its collections at every stage of the department’s teaching programme.

If you want to find out more about Boughton, you can visit its website here.