Dyrham Park: global crossroads

Garden² (no. 7), by Marc Quinn, 2000. © the artist and Arts Council Collection

Dyrham Park is about to host an exhibition of contemporary art from the Arts Council Collection. Entitled A World Away, it will include work by Marc Quinn, Helen Sear, Mark Wallinger, Yinka Shonibare and Leo Fitzmaurice.

Dutch Delftware flower vase with decoration inspired by Chinese porcelain, at Dyrham Park. ©NTPL/John Hammond

The exhibition is part of the Trust New Art programme, a three-year partnership between Arts Council England and the National Trust to promote contemporary art in historic places.

The Diogenes Room at Dyrham, showing one of the English 'Diogenes' tapestries and part of the collection of Delftware. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

The exhibition at Dyrham will interact with the career of William Blathwayt, a politician and administrator handling colonial affairs and global trade under kings Charles II, James II and William III.

Line Painting, by Yinka Shonibare, 2003. © the artist, Stephen Friedman Gallery and Arts Council Collection. This work includes various Dutch wax fabric prints, which originated in Indonesia, were exported by the Dutch to West Africa and were later also produced in Manchester.

Dyrham is still filled with reminders of late-seventeenth-century globalisation, such as the Virginian cedar wood used for the main staircase, the collection of Dutch Delftware, the slave torcheres – shocking to twenty-first-century sensibilities but clearly not so to seventeenth-century ones –  and the rare Javanese tea table.

The Balcony Room, with the Javanese tea table and the torcheres supported by chained black slaves. Both William Blathwayt and his uncle Thomas Povey were involved in adminstering the slave plantations in Jamaica. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

As exhibition curator Rupert Goulding says: “We would like the contemporary art to help our visitors look again at the historic collection and perhaps gain a deeper understanding of the house and its creator.”

The Virginian cedar staircase. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

The exhibition will run from 30 March to 28 October 2012.

4 Responses to “Dyrham Park: global crossroads”

  1. Rosemary Says:

    Thanks very much for that information. I live near Dyrham Park, so will give the Contemporary art exhibition a visit.

  2. imogen88 Says:

    Just wanted to say, found out about this magnificent blog via Julie at Austen Only, and time and time again beautiful posts are coming into my feed inbox which are such a treat and inspiration. Thank you, I can’t comment on them all, but they are amazing.

  3. artandarchitecturemainly Says:

    Is Dyrham Park near Bristol? If so, I can understand how William Blathwayt might be a successful politician and administrator handling colonial affairs and trade under kings the later Stuarts. It seems that Bristol was the British port most involved in the slave trade. At least the Blathwayts had great taste in paintings, textiles, ceramics etc.

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Rosemary, do let us know what you think once you have seen it.

    Imogen, I am very pleased you like the blog.

    Helen, Dyrham is indeed near Bristol, but Blathwayt didn’t choose it as his country seat for that reason. His work was mainly in London, in various government departments and with the king. But it would be interesting to find out if the Virginian cedar for the staircase was imported via Bristol.

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