THE National Trust's Kingston Lacy attraction will be exploring the lives of its most influential women, as part of the centenary of women's suffrage.

'Beyond the Portrait' is one of a number of exhibitions and events making up the National Trust’s Women and Power programme.

The exhibition examines Mary, Frances, Anne and Henrietta - four Bankes women who influenced Kingston Lacy over 400 years of the estate’s history.

It brings together fine art, decorative objects and voices from the Bankes Archive.

National Trust curator Kate Bethune said: "Beyond the Portrait places the women of Kingston Lacy at the centre of our storytelling, and highlights their stories, voices and influence.

"We hope that part of the legacy of the project will be the foundation of our long-term plan to embed the female perspective into Kingston Lacy and Purbeck’s core story, rebalancing the way we share this history."

Beyond the Portrait is being delivered in partnership with Dorset History Centre, as part of the 'Unlocking the Bankes Archive Project' and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project aims to conserve the archive, reveal its potential for future research and stimulate audience interest in its stories.

Unlocking the Bankes Archive project and engagement officer Emma Munn said: "The information contained within the Bankes Archive is enabling Kingston Lacy to create new interpretation based on research carried out by volunteers at Dorset History Centre.

"The project team have uncovered fascinating glimpses into the lives of these four women in the Bankes family and, by working in partnership with Kingston Lacy, will be able to tell their stories for years to come."

Kingston Lacy will also be hosting elements of the Threads of Narrative exhibition, previously on display at Walford Mill Crafts in Wimborne and a further output of the Unlocking the Bankes Archive project.

Threads of Narrative is a textile art response to material contained in the Bankes Archive.

It will be on display in the Laundry at Kingston Lacy until October 28.