Patrick Home of Billie, who built Paxton House, was a great connoisseur of art. Today we keep his legacy alive by showing part of his collection alongside masterpieces on loan from National Galleries Scotland and by hosting exhibitions by local artists.
We host special exhibitions which highlight parts of the collection and draw on recent research in our archives. You'll find that there is always something new to see at Paxton House.
Our major exhibition for 2022 and 2023 is Parallel Lives, Worlds Apart which draws on Paxton House’s exceptional collection of historic costume to explore relationships in the lives of several owners of Paxton House in mid-18th century Scotland, Europe, Virginia and Grenada. Using original items from the collection alongside replica costume specially commissioned for the exhibition, the displays explore contrasts and connections between Paxton’s owners, their friends, descendants and the enslaved African people who worked on their sugar estates.
The exhibition is open daily in summer as part of the Paxton house tour and runs from April until the end of October.
Sugar & Slavery is a new permanent exhibition in the Morning Room. The exhibition explores the relationship between the Home family of Paxton House and their plantations in the West Indies where they grew sugar and nutmeg. A scale model of Waltham Plantation and a unique series of watercolours of Paraclete Plantation on Grenada, made by Scottish landscape artist Adam Callander in 1789, show the lives of the enslaved people who worked the plantations. A centrepiece of the exhibition is The Paxton Secretaire, one of the most important pieces of mahogany furniture made for plantation owner Ninian Home by Thomas Chippendale.
The exhibition can be visited on a house tour or, unguided, between 10am and 2pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.
We are busy planning a lego exhibition for summer 2023. Watch the website for details but be prepared for interactive fun for all the family and some lego models which will amaze you.
Masterpieces of Scottish Painting
The Picture Gallery at Paxton is the largest private gallery ever to be built in Scotland and one of the most ambitious of any British country house. It was designed by the King’s Architect in Scotland, Robert Reid, for George Home in 1814 with the advice of Sir Henry Raeburn, Scotland’s premier portrait painter.
The gallery was built to display old masters collected by Patrick Home of Billie in the 1770s but the collection was sold to pay death duties in the 1920s. Today we have an important loan collection of pictures from National Galleries Scotland ranging from the 17th to the 20th centuries – portraits, land and seascapes, still lifes, romantic and avant garde paintings.