Portraits of the Towneley family are an important part of the oil and watercolour collections. A family catalogue in 1844 recorded over 130 family portraits with over 90 of these on display in the Long Gallery. Today there are 13 oil paintings and 7 works on paper in the museum collections, 10 of which were on display in 1844. Of those dated after 1844, the most important depicts Charles Towneley (1803-1876) and his brother John viewing their Derby winning racehorse Kettledrum in 1861.
Those family portraits on display are mainly located in the Towneley Room or the Art Gallery. None have been displayed in the Long Gallery for many years. Since 2002, a number of portraits from the oil collection have been displayed in the Green Regency Room but only one, Lady Caroline Towneley with two of her daughters, depicts a member of the Towneley family. This painting dates from around the year of the birth of Lady Caroline's third daughter, Alice in 1846.