Online exhibition

Shibden Hall Paintings

Shibden Hall has 15 unique oil paintings, that are mostly portraits, on permanent display; some have been on site for centuries. We have lots of information on these paintings but would love to find out more. If you have any additional information on any items in this collection you can contact us.

More oil paintings belonging to the Museum Service are on display at Shibden Hall in the guest bedroom and the bedroom used by Anne Lister. These have been added more recently to decorate the rooms and are not connected to the Hall’s history.

You can explore the full Museum Service’s collection of oil paintings online. Visit ART UK – Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council.

The Housebody

The Housebody is the central room at Shibden Hall. There are eight paintings on display in the housebody high on the walls. All paintings are portraits.

The housebody of Shibden Hall

Anne Lister (1791-1840) by Joshua Horner

Anne recorded in her diary being sketched for a portrait, but it is not known if she lived to see this one completed. She knew the Horner’s well and had previously commissioned both John (1784-1867) and his son Joshua (1812-1881) for paintings and sketches of her plans for Shibden Hall.

This painting was conserved and cleaned more recently after a swallow managed to get into the housebody and left its mark on Anne Lister's shoulder. There are also two smaller portraits displayed at Shibden Hall purportedly of Anne Lister.

Anne Lister portrait

Samuel Lister (1673-1702)

Samuel Lister (1673-1702) inherited Shibden from his father in 1694, just six years before he died without issue. The Hall then passed to his Uncle John’s grandson, James Lister (1673-1729). The portrait of him below hangs over the door into the Housebody.

Samuel Lister

Anne Lister (1765-1836) painted by Thomas Binns

This unusual front facing portrait is mentioned in Anne Lister’s diaries as being sat for by her Aunt in 1833. She wanted to commission a portrait of her sister Marian but she refused, Instead she commissioned a painting of Shibden valley as a present for her. It was painted by John Horner and hangs on the staircase, see details below.

Anne Lister lived at Shibden Hall with her brother James. They were later joined by their niece, also called Anne in 1815, and after her brother's death in 1826, her other brother Jeremy (niece Anne's father) and his second daughter Marian lived with her at Shibden.

Binns was a young Halifax based artist in 1833 when commissioned for this work, recommended to the Listers by John Horner. Anne Lister's letters to her Aunt at the time record them bemoaning the length of time Aunt Anne had to sit for him to paint her.

Aunt Anne Lister

James Lister (1748-1826) by Joshua Horner

James lived at Shibden Hall with his sister Anne and they were later joined by their niece Anne in 1815 who would later inherit Shibden. We believe this painting was completed after his death in 1826 by Joshua Horner (1812-1881).

James Lister

Mr and Mrs Jonathan Hall

This pair of matching oval portraits shown below have been displayed above the fireplace for over a century. The Halls are believed to have been friends of the Lister family. There is no record of the artist or date.

Jonathan Hall portrait
Mrs Hall portrait

Woman and child

This painting has been displayed inside the house for atleast 100 years. We do not know who the subject or artist are.

Portrait of a woman and child by an unknown artist.

Man with rose

We do not know the who was the subject or artist.

Man with rose portrait

The Staircase

The staircase from the Housebody was added by Anne Lister when the Housebody was extended. The space was created by reducing the adjacent room, the Buttery and adding the ornate carved staircase up to the second floor. There is a portrait at the bottom of the stairs and large landscape as you walk up the stairs.


Reverend John Lister (1703-1759)

Reverend John Lister did not marry and when he died in a hunting accident the ownership of the Hall passed to his brothers James and then Samuel; whose portraits hang in the Dining Room. This painting matches the two in the dining room and was completed at the same time with all three brothers being painted. The painted 'rounding off' of the portraits was a popular feature of the time, even though they were hung in square frames.

Reverend John Lister

Oil painting of Shibden Dale by John Horner

Anne Lister recorded in her diary offering to commission a portrait of her sister, but Marian did not wish to sit for one. Instead she gifted her sister this painting of Shibden valley by John Horner (1784-1867). Horner was based in Halifax and advertised as a Drawing Master and Painter.

Shibden Valley by John Horner

The Dining Room

The Dining Room is entered from the Housebody and has a pair of portraits and an interior painting of the Housbody in display.

Shibden Hall - Dining Room

Pair of portraits of brothers James Lister (1705-1763) and Samuel Lister (1706-1766

These portraits shown above and right, were restored by local artist John Horner (1784-1867) and reframed by Millbourne & Sons, London, ordered by Anne Lister (1791-1840) in 1833. Horner suggested the paintings were by Thomas Hudson (1701-1779).

James inherited Shibden after his brother Reverend John Lister died in 1759 until his death in 1763 when it passed to Samuel, who died in 1766. Both brothers worked in the cloth trade.

James Lister
Samuel Lister 2

Oil painting of Shibden Housebody by Henry Sykes (1855-1921)

This painting hangs above the fireplace in the dining room. There seems to have been an earlier watercolour version, possibly by Sykes. The paintings are very similar, but in the oil painting, the dog has changed and where a woman was standing at the table, she has been erased and a faint outline of a woman can be seen at the bottom of the stairs.

Housebody painting

The Study

The small Study at Shibden has several bookcases, a longcase clock and a tall bureau, so only wall space for one painting.

The study room inside Shibden Hall

Reverend John Lister (1703-1759) by Richard Lynes

There are two paintings listed as being Revered John Lister and they are quite similar, but not necessarily the same person. This one shown to the right, which hangs in the Study is signed Richard Lynes but the other, at the bottom of the housebody (pictured above) staircase, is unsigned.

Rev John Lister 2

The Red Room

The Red Room was the largest bedroom in the Hall. It is named after a red frieze which runs around the top of the paneling. There is just one painting in this room.

The Red Room inside Shibden Hall show casing the red frieze where it's name comes from

Man in armour

There is no record of the sitter or artist of this painting, shown left. There is a mention of the painting of the 'man in armour' between Anne Lister and her Aunt in correspondence in 1833, but they don't seem to have knowledge of who he is either. They are discussing reframing some of the paintings at Shibden and deciding between this one and possibly the painting below. Anne writes 'I think Mrs K had best be done up first because she is best painted, and because the gentleman's name should be more rigorously determined before he gets his promotion.'

Man in armour

Portrait of Mrs Knaplock

This portrait is recorded as being of Mrs Knaplock. It is now displayed in the Savile room at Shibden Hall after being conserved by Critchlow & Kukkonen in 2020. It had been kept in store at Shibden for several decades as it had become loose in its frame and stretcher and was in need of cleaning and remounting and some minor repairs. The painting was restored and rehung ready for re-opening in 2021. Painting conservation is a highly skilled and time-consuming job and this painting cost around £3,000.00 to conserve to help preserve it for the future and enable us to put the painting back on display. We used donation money given by visitors to our sites to undertake this.

There is no signature or information on the painting but we believe it is of Mrs Hannah Knaplock and Anne Lister and her Aunt discuss reframing 'Mrs Knaplock' in their 1833 letters, and looking at the similarity of the frame to those they did reframe at the time it is likely to be this one. Hannah Knaplock was aunt to William Wilkinson of Hull who married Phoebe Lister (1717-1775), daughter of James Lister (1673-1729) and Mary Issot (1699-1756).

We have also been provided with the following information about Mrs Knaplock:

Within the Lister archive held at the Yorkshire Archives there is a letter from Hannah Knaplock written to Phoebe Wilkinson (nee Lister, 1717-1775). Hannah Knaplock’s will names Robert Knaplock, stationer and citizen of London as her husband (she was widowed at the time she wrote her will) and she left £200 to Phoebe Wilkinson, her widowed niece in law, who resided at Shibden Hall near Halifax. Hannah died in 1772, a few years before Phoebe and the portrait may have made its way to Shibden around this time.

Mrs Knaplock