These days, with the credit crunch biting, the aristocracy have to come up with ever more ingenious ways to maintain the family pile.
Lord and Lady Derby are flinging open the doors of their stately home, Knowsley Hall in Merseyside, for five days to share their family portrait collection, with tickets costing £12. The couple, who also own Knowsley Safari Park, have moved 15 portraits, dating back to the early 17th century, including one by William Hogarth, from their private residences on the estate into Knowsley Hall's Music Room.
"The Hall has been the ancestral home of the Stanley family since 1385, and the Earls of Derby have amassed a stunning portrait collection," says Emma Tate, curator of The Derby Collection.
The display, according to Lord Derby, will be "a fitting tribute to Liverpool in its year as European Capital of Culture", and will include a portrait of the artist Peter Monamy by Hogarth, a self-portrait of Sir Godfrey Kneller (late 17th century), a portrait of the poet John Dryden, and, of course, paintings of various members of the Stanley family.
Knowsley Hall, Merseyside (0151-489 4827), 14 to 20 AugustReuse content