A Dutch house in Gloucestershire

View of Dyrham Park from the entrance drive, with Claude David's statue of Neptune, acquired by William Blathwayt for his baroque garden. ©National Trust Images/Rupert Truman

View of Dyrham Park from the entrance drive, with Claude David’s statue of Neptune, acquired by William Blathwayt for his baroque garden. ©National Trust Images/Rupert Truman

In an article in the recently published 2013 National Trust Historic Houses and Collections Annual, Rupert Goulding reconstructs the personality and taste of William Blathwayt (?1649-1717), the builder of Dyrham Park.

The Great Hall at Dyrham, showing William Blathwayt's bookcases. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Great Hall at Dyrham, showing William Blathwayt’s bookcases. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

By analysing an inventory of Blathwayt’s lost print collection, Rupert has found telling details of Blathwayt’s intellectual interests and love of art and gardening.

Portrait of William Blathwayt by Michael Dahl. ©National Trust Images/Ian Blantern

Portrait of William Blathwayt by Michael Dahl. ©National Trust Images/Ian Blantern

Blathwayt was a government minister under King William III, ‘a master at managing information’ as Rupert characterises him.

Vanitas still life by Edwaert Colliers at Dyrham, 1675, reflecting Blathwayt's love of books, the visual arts and music. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Vanitas still life by Edwaert Colliers at Dyrham, 1675, reflecting Blathwayt’s love of books, the visual arts and music. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

This not only made Blathwayt an able Secretary of State and Secretary at War, but it was also reflected in the architecture and gardens of Dyrham Park and the collections he assembled there.

A view through a house by Samuel van Hoogstraten, 1662, at Dyrham Park. William Blathwayt liked to keep exotic and song birds, like the one shown in this painting. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

A view through a house by Samuel van Hoogstraten, 1662, at Dyrham Park. William Blathwayt liked to keep exotic and song birds, like the one shown in this painting. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Blathwayt might be dubbed a ‘Hollandophile': he not only spoke Dutch (which was useful when serving under a Dutch king), but he also owned many Dutch paintings and prints.

Engraving of Dyrham Park by Johannes Kip, 1712. ©National Trust Images

Engraving of Dyrham Park by Johannes Kip, 1712. ©National Trust Images

Blathwayt shared an appreciation of gardens with William III, and his print collection included a number of views of contemporary gardens. The garden at Dyrham was laid out in Dutch baroque style, like those at William’s palaces at Hampton Court and Het Loo. Rupert defines Dyrham as ‘essentially a Dutch house in Gloucestershire.’

Portrait of King William III after Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1690s, at Dyrham. ©National Trust, image supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Portrait of King William III after Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1690s, at Dyrham. ©National Trust, image supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Rupert’s article clearly demonstrates how an inventory can be the key to revealing the rich personal meanings contained within a house, a garden and a collection.

3 Responses to “A Dutch house in Gloucestershire”

  1. Mark D. Ruffner Says:

    I remember hearing during a tour of Williamsburg, Virginia, that the old capitol building there was reconstructed with much help from inventories that went so far as to mention the number of upholstery tacks in each chair.

  2. Princess of Eboli History Masquerade Says:

    Hello, the paintings on this pages are so beautiful, I like very much you page!!!!

  3. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Mark, that inventory must be every art historian’s dream (and every inventory clerk’s nightmare) :)

    Princess, thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 781 other followers

%d bloggers like this: