The Collections Award

Recognising, responding, reimagining

Suit of armour at Burghley

Historic Houses member places are so much more than buildings. They are ‘arks’ full of art and objects that tell stories of family life, social history, and personal taste. The contents of our houses are inseparable from their importance and value.

In partnership with

 Dreweatts logo new

We have created this award, in partnership with Dreweatts, the fine-art auction house, to honour the owners, curators, researchers, and conservators who preserve, augment, restore, and interpret these beautiful and significant objects.

We’re not looking to crown ‘the best’ collection. We’re looking for collections —of all shapes, sizes, and types — that tell interesting contemporary stories about how historic houses are recognising new challenges, responding to changing audiences and interests, or reimagining the composition or presentation of their contents.

Watch the video below on the 2023 winner – Ushaw Historic House, Chapel & Gardens


The 2024 competition

We have a brilliant and competitive selection of applications from houses for this year’s Collections Award.

Later this spring, our judging panel will choose a shortlist. Stay tuned to follow the progress of the 2024 award.

In the meantime, make sure you catch the Dreweatts Summer Exhibition in central London, between Monday 10 and Thursday 13 June. More details on that will be posted here in due course.


Our 2024 judging panel

Dr Nicholas Cullinan OBE

Nicholas took up his position as the Director of the National Portrait Gallery in spring 2015 and has recently overseen the largest transformation of the Gallery since its building opened in 1896. Prior to this, he was Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and from 2007 to 2013, Nicholas was Curator of International Modern Art at Tate Modern where he co-curated an exhibition of Henri Matisse’s cut-outs with Sir Nicholas Serota in 2014. Nicholas received his BA, MA and PhD in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and in 2006–7 he held the Hilla Rebay International Fellowship at the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao, New York and Venice.

Hatta Byng, Editor, House & Garden

Hatta Byng joined House & Garden in 2006, as Features Editor, and became Editor in 2014, overseeing the content and vision across all platforms. Hatta holds a lifelong interest in interiors and architecture, studying History of Art and Architecture, first at Edinburgh and then the Courtauld. She worked for several years in interior design, before heading to Cape Town where she worked for the South African edition of House & Garden between 2003-2005. This was to be the springboard for her magazine career.   She is married with three children and lives between London and North Yorkshire.

Will Fisher, Jamb

Will is the founder of Jamb on the Pimlico Road, a quintessentially British company, which he runs together with his wife, Charlotte, dealing in antiques and immaculately reproduced eighteenth- and nineteenth-century chimneypieces, lights, and garden ornaments, they have, between the two of them, done much to bring that much sought-after – but rarely achieved – English country-house look to the mainstream aesthetic.

Will Richards, Deputy Chairman, Dreweatts

Will Richards is Deputy Chairman and a Director of Dreweatts and Forum Auctions and is based at Dreweatts’ Pall Mall office in London and at the Donnington Priory salerooms in Newbury. He has over 30 years’ experience in the auction business. Previously with Phillips and Bonhams, Will joined Dreweatts as a Director in May 2008.

Will advises an international body of private clients, institutions and public galleries on all aspects of managing collections.

Julie Montagu, Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Julie Montagu is a wellness entrepreneur, yoga instructor, author, and television personality. She hosts the American Viscountess Youtube Channel, where she shares insighted into castles, manors, and stately homes, as well as the custodians caring for them. She combines her American perspective with her experiences living in the UK.

In addition to her YouTube channel, Julie is a freelance royal commentator, offering her expertise to major media outlets during significant royal events.

2023 Winner - Ushaw Historic House, Chapel and Gardens

Historic Houses Announces Collections Award 2023 Winner

Ushaw Historic House, Chapel & Gardens announced as the winner of the 2023 Historic Houses Collections Award, sponsored by Dreweatts.

Jonathan Pratt, Managing Director, Dreweatts

Dreweatts is thrilled to be contributing to the Historic Houses’ award programme. We are fascinated to hear how owners and curators are recognising new challenges and opportunities, from climate change to academic research, and responding to changing audiences or debates on social issues. We look forward to celebrating those who are re-imagining their collections, whether through acquisition and expansion, restoration, or re-presentation.

Ben Cowell OBE, Director-General, Historic Houses

This trophy will recognise the thought and effort that goes into caring for and interpreting the uniquely meaningful and precious contents of privately owned and independently run historic houses. The heritage these special places embody is much more than bricks and mortar; artworks and artefacts, treasures and trinkets accumulated over centuries of often unbroken family collecting tell a huge range of stories that echo beyond the four walls that contain these fascinating assemblages.