Torbay’s art collection couldn’t be housed in a more fitting location than the spectacular Torre Abbey, home to some of the bay’s grandest residents for more than 800 years. There are several galleries inside Torre Abbey thanks to the Cary family who refashioned the building into a grand country house back in the 18th century.
Luckily for art lovers who visit today, the Cary family used their collection of family portraits and art work to demonstrate their wealth, dedicated a set of rooms especially to their pictures. Although much of the family’s collection was sold at auction at the beginning of last century, there is a large collection of historic paintings on display – much of which was kindly donated by local residents since 1930.
There are paintings from almost every period found in the abbey, and it has many 19th century pieces. It’s easy to see that many of the paintings belonged to genteel families who owned second homes in Torquay when it was one of the most fashionable areas to retreat for the winter. Torre Abbey collects mostly 18th, 19th and 20th century landscape, genre and marine paintings by British artists, and it focuses on local views from around South Devon.
There are 600 spectacular oils and watercolours on display in Torre Abbey, and they include works by William Henry Hunt and Thomas Miles Richardson. The Thrupp Collection also draws art lovers from all over the country, as it’s the most extensive collection from the studio of a Victorian sculptor. It includes statues, busts and bronzes as well as plaster reliefs. Torre Abbey dates back to 1196, and its enchanting grounds and visible history make it an atmospheric setting for one of Devon’s most intriguing galleries.
Torre Abbey Historic House & Gallery
Torre Abbey The Kings Drive