The unlikely home of a masterpiece of 17th century painting, Preston Hall is also one of the North East’s most popular museums.
Nestled alongside the River Tees, the Hall and grounds started life in 1825 as Georgian country house. Remodelled in 1882, shipping magnet Robert Ropner extended the house adding an impressive Victorian winter garden and landscaped garden. It passed to the local council after the Second World War.
Georges de La Tour (1593-1652) was a famous French Baroque painter. He is particularly noted for his dramatic treatment of light and shade in candlelight scenes (chiaroscuro). The Dice Players, which is probably his last painting, has pride of place at the Hall. Notable British film director Peter Greenaway described de La Tour's work as a primary influence on his 1982 film The Draughtsman's Contract.
From another era but no less interesting, the original track bed of the world famous Stockton & Darlington railway runs through the parkland of the Hall.
The museum and has recently undergone a dramatic transformation and £7m refurbishment.