A £7.1 million redevelopment of a Cumbrian mansion is one step closer after the appointment of award-winning architects for the scheme.

Abbot Hall is a grade I listed 18th century riverside property in Kendal, which since 1962 has housed an art gallery and a museum.

The venue is home to permanent collection of over 6,500 works including one of the most significant collections of work by George Romney and 19th century watercolours by artists including JMW Turner and John Ruskin.

The modern and contemporary collection includes work by Lucian Freud, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson and Kurt Schwitters.

Its Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry tells the history of the Lake District and stories of the people who lived there over the past 200 years.

Lakeland Arts is in charge of the redevelopment of Abbot Hall, and has announced London-based McInnes Usher McKnight will be lead architects on the project.

Gordon Watson, Lakeland Arts’ chief executive, said: “Abbot Hall is now in need of significant improvements to preserve both the historic site and its important collections for future generations.

“We are delighted to appoint McInnes Usher McKnight to the project, as they bring a wealth of experience of delivering exceptionally high-quality schemes in the cultural sector.

"We are looking forward to working with the team to bring these exciting plans to fruition.”

Lakeland Arts aims to launch the redeveloped Abbot Hall in 2022, to coincide with its 60th anniversary.

World-class visitor experiences will be created, encompassing ambitious artistic programming, learning and engagement activities.

The site will be fully accessible, galleries will be improved to better care for and display the collection, with new environmental and security controls.

Meanwhile a new, double height project space will be created to display ambitious new exhibitions, including digital work.

The development stage of the project is being funded by Arts Council England, and Lakeland Arts plan a second stage application in December to secure a further £4.6m.

The organisation aims to raise £2.1m match-funding from trusts, foundations and private individuals, with around 35 per cent of match-funding already secured.

McInnes Usher McKnight recently redeveloped the Queen’s Jubilee Galleries at Westminster Abbey.

In 2015 it renovated Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery.

Partner Stuart McKnight said: “We are delighted to have been appointed as the architects for this fascinating commission.

"The wonderful collection, the historic buildings and the special site together offer great potential for a transformative project.