Portrait collections at Douai Benedictine Abbey and Englefield House, Berkshire, 1 July 2019
This event comprised expert-led visits to two remarkable private portrait collections. Douai Abbey in Woolhampton is a Roman Catholic monastery of the English Benedictine Congregation. It was founded in Paris in 1615, removed to Douai in French Flanders post-Revolution, and settled in Berkshire in 1903. The Abbey houses a collection of portraits of English Catholic exiles, French churchmen associated with the University of Douai, and English monks and nuns from the Benedictine and other monastic and religious orders, dating from the sixteenth to twenty-first century.
The Englefield family lost Englefield House in 1583, when Sir Francis was implicated in the Catholic Throckmorton Plot to assassinate Elizabeth I. The house and estate were gifted to Sir Francis Walsingham, one of the queen’s principal advisors, from whom the current owners, the Benyon family, are descended. The portrait collection includes examples attributed to Nathaniel Dance, Bartholomew Dandridge and Walter William Ouless, among many others.