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The house is a treasure trove, with over 1,000 objects and works of art on display.

Here are some of our must-see highlights for you to look out for…

Venus Verticordia

This iconic Pre-Raphaelite painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti depicts “the turner of men’s hearts”, a femme fatale with her roots in both pagan and Christian traditions – luxurious, sensuous and rich with symbolism.


This stunning painting by local artist Harold Williamson is on display in our Morning Room, depicting in a vertiginous composition the moment of sea crashing on rocks and spraying the swimmer. It is a great example of the 20th Century art collection at the museum.

The View

The Russell-Cotes is in a fabulous position, on the East Cliff, overlooking Bournemouth Pier and offering some of the best views along the Dorset coastline. Although we have to keep the blinds down in much of the house to conserve our collections, you can sit in the Conservatory or the Red Room and enjoy the view.

The Japanese Collection

Merton and Annie sent back over 100 cases of objects from Japan in 1885, including Noh masks and a magnificent 18th century shrine. This is recognised by the V&A as one of the most important Japanese collections in the world.


Albert Moore’s Pre-Raphaelite-inspired masterpiece Midsummer (1887) beautifully anticipates the Symbolists’ fascination with sleep and dreams.

 The Lily Langtry Loo

An elaborately decorated ladies’ loo was said to have been used by actress (and Royal Mistress) Lily Langtry. Lady visitors can still use it today – although we do have modern facilities too!

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  • venus
  • Spray
  • The View from Russell Cotes
  • Japanese Collection Koro Silver Elephant
  • Art Shop
  • the lily langtry loo