Portrait of a lady, presumed to be Vere Egerton, attributed to Robert Peake (c. 1551-1619). ©Sotheby's
The portrait of a lady, probably Vere Egerton, which we purchased recently at auction with help from the Art Fund, is now back at Dunham Massey.
English School, portrait of Lady Elizabeth Cecil, Countess of Berkshire (1596-1672), eighteenth-century copy after an original by the Comet Master, at Dunham Massey. ©National Trust/Robert Thrift
Vere Egerton married William Booth of Dunham in 1619, and her connections and wealth marked a rise in the family fortunes. The newly acquired portrait of her is the most spectacular of the early portraits at Dunham.
English School, portrait of Mary Bunce, Lady Langham (1599/1600-1652), 1650, at Dunham Massey. Lady Langham's granddaughter Mary married Henry Booth, 1st Earl of Warrington. ©National Trust/Robert Thrift
Its acquisition is important for that reason, but also because it allows the picture to be seen in the context of other late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century portraits of the Booth and Grey families at Dunham.
English School, after Cornelius Jonson, portrait of Lady Diana Cecil, Countess of Oxford and Elgin (c. 1603-1654), at Dunham Masey. ©National Trust/Robert Thrift
Vere’s great great granddaughter, Lady Mary Booth (1704-1772) married Harry Grey, 4th Earl of Stamford (1715-1768), and it was through that marriage that Dunham was inherited by the Earls of Stamford.
The Stone Parlour at Dunham, originally an informal dining room in the Tudor period, with early eighteenth-century (but deliberately old-fashioned) panelling, which was remodelled in antiquarian fashion in 1906. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel
So the copies of the Jacobean portraits of the Countesses of Berkshire and Oxford, sisters-in-law of the 1st Earl of Stamford, who would have been Vere’s contemporaries, only came to Dunham much later. But it is those historical loops and connections, (as also seen in the development of the Stone Parlour shown above, for instance) that make country house collections so interesting.