As I visited Dunham Massey a few days ago I experienced a kind of déjà vu.
The mellow red brickwork of the stables and the house, seen from across the moat, suddenly reminded me of Vermeer’s View of Delft
Perhaps it was the changeable weather we were having, with rainclouds alternating with sunshine, just like in the painting. But what Dunham and Vermeer’s townscape also have in common is an intriguing mixture of grand stillness and layered detail.
The house, service quarters, garden and estate were built, added to and remodeled by successive generations of the Booth and Grey families between the eighteenth and the twentieth centuries.
Having grown, been pruned and regrown in this organic way, the house seems to have the same quiet poignancy and hidden bustle as Delft did when Vermeer saw it.