FAMILY portraits have returned to Chirk Castle to go on public display for the first time.

A portrait of Lady Margaret Myddelton and a portrait of Robert Myddelton-Biddulph which were both previously at Chirk, were gifted by the late Lady Aird, daughter of Lady Margaret Myddelton.

The Myddeltons have resided at Chirk Castle, originally constructed in the late 13th Century, since the end of the 16th century, from which a vast collection of paintings, furniture and curiosities has grown.

From 14 July, the portraits of two Myddelton family members go on public display for the first time; Lady Margaret Myddelton, who most recently lived in the castle from 1946-2003 and Robert Myddelton-Biddulph who occupied the castle from 1801 to 1814.

The paintings hold huge significance, depicting the two occupants who, up to now, have not had their portraits present in the castle’s state rooms.

The two portraits are a gift from the late Lady Aird (1934-2023) in 2021. They are now displayed in the castle’s dining room, a room designed by Lady Margaret.

They had previously hung at Chirk Castle in the private family apartments, and more recently displayed in Lady Aird’s home.

WATCH: Two portraits return home to Chirk Castle 

By being on public display, visitors can now learn the significant story of Lady Margaret Myddelton, a key character in Chirk Castle’s history, who married Colonel Ririd Myddelton in 1931 and in 1946 they moved to Chirk Castle.

The couple worked passionately to restore the castle, gardens and estate. Lady Margaret was instrumental in the negotiations that enabled Chirk Castle to be acquired by the Trust, thereby saving the castle for future generations.


Caroline Allfrey, daughter of Lady Aird spoke about the portraits returning to Chirk, and said: “It means a huge amount. Mummy had wanted the (portraits) to come back and the fact the Trust have been so helpful in facilitating that is fantastic.”

She added: “It means a huge amount that they’ve come home.”

The Leader: The two portraits that have returned to Chirk CastleThe two portraits that have returned to Chirk Castle (Image: Newsquest-Leader)

Her grandmother, Lady Margret “gave her life to this place” and was pleased to see that Chirk is being maintained through the Trust in the way her grandparents would have wanted.

Caroline added: “Chirks home, chirk will always be home.”

She said: “Family history and family stories make the place come alive.”

Painted in 1931 for her 21st birthday, the stunning portrait of Lady Margaret is understood to have been commissioned by her stepfather from the leading 20th-century society portraitist, Glyn Philpot. It depicts Lady Margaret exuding glamour in a debutant dress.

John Chu, Senior National Curator at National Trust describes the piece as “a real explosion of colour, with a blush of pink, the sea green chiffon and beautiful white silk dress”. He also commends Philpot’s inspired technique in painting the diamonds in her earrings, which are sculpted out of oil paint.

Robert Myddelton-Biddulph, in the second portrait, assumed the name on his marriage to Charlotte Myddelton in 1801.

The 19th century painting is attributed to Sir William Beechey, an official portrait painter to several members of the royal family. Robert is featured in the forefront with “kind eyes” as described by Caroline Allfrey, granddaughter of Lady Margaret.

In the background, an illustration of Chirk Castle cements Robert’s connection with his new family and is created by visible brushstrokes and thick paint to depict a stormy Welsh landscape.

Karen George, Chirk Castle’s House and Collections Manager said: “These acquisitions are a rare and significant addition to our collection. We’re thrilled that they have come home and that we can share this charming depiction of Lady Margaret with our visitors."