The inside of one of the Victorian tunnels at Welbeck built by the 5th Duke of Portland

What's On

The 5th Duke of Portland

Tunnel Vision
14 May 2022 - 2024

Back by popular demand.

An exhibition that reveals the mysterious world of the 5th Duke of Portland.

The 5th Duke was an unusual figure in Victorian high society, and many myths and legends have grown around his memory.

These include always wearing 3 pairs of socks, only eating roast chicken, and communicating exclusively by letter through his bedroom door.

The actual truth behind the stories is uncertain but it seems that the famously private 5th Duke was not a conventional Victorian aristocrat.  He is best known for his building projects, which include one of the world’s largest riding schools, 2¾ miles of tunnels, a subterranean ballroom and an underground donkey stable.

The 5th Duke of Portland was a keen art collector, and The Portland Collection remains home to many pieces that he chose. He bought more than 50 paintings, including works by Reynolds and Mytens, over 70 miniatures and an extraordinary array of ceramics.

This exhibition includes the architectural models for some of the Duke’s building projects, portraits of his lost love – the opera singer Adelaide Kemble, the Duke’s death mask, and his iconic double-letterbox bedroom door.

Visitor Information

This exhibition is on show in the Gallery.

Free entry.

As Seen On TV

This exhibition was recently featured on BBC Bargain Hunt. Watch an interview with Assistant Curator Dr Lauren Batt, speaking to Christina Trevanion.