A painting by Cornelis de Heem acquired for Dyrham Park

Cornelis de Heem (1631-95), A Still Life of Flowers and Fruit arranged on a Stone Plinth in a Garden, at Dyrham Park, NT 2900107. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Cornelis de Heem (1631-95), A Still Life of Flowers and Fruit arranged on a Stone Plinth in a Garden, at Dyrham Park, NT 2900107. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

It has been announced today that we have acquired this painting by Cornelis de Heem for Dyrham Park.

The de Heem being taken out of its crate on arrival at Dyrham Park. ©National Trust Images/Barry Batchelor

The de Heem being taken out of its crate on arrival at Dyrham Park. ©National Trust Images/Barry Batchelor

The picture was purchased by the builder of Dyrham, William Blathwayt, in the 1690s. It stayed in the house until it was sold at auction in 1956.

A moment of contemplation after the de Heem has been hung in the Diogenes Room. ©National Trust Images/Barry Batchelor

A moment of contemplation after the de Heem has been hung in the Diogenes Room. ©National Trust Images/Barry Batchelor

Now, after an absence of almost sixty years, it is returning to Dyrham. The acquisition has been made possibly by grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Mr and Mrs Kenneth Levy bequest, the Art Fund, a fund set up by the late Hon. Simon Sainsbury, the Royal Oak Foundation’s Ervin-DesChamps Fund and a private donation.

Silk flowers being arranged in the Delft vase underneath the de Heem. ©National Trust Images/Barry Batchelor

Silk flowers being arranged in the Delft vase underneath the de Heem. ©National Trust Images/Barry Batchelor

Apart from being a display of virtuoso painterly skill, the picture also hints at the transience of material culture. Some of the fruits are beginning to rot and the wild plants are encroaching on the garden, ready to undo man’s efforts.

Further Delftware in the Diogenes Room, also from Blathwayt's collection. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Further Delftware in the Diogenes Room, also from Blathwayt’s collection. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Blathwayt is thought to have acquired this picture on one of his trips to the Low Countries in the 1690s, when he was accompanying King William III on his military campaigns.

Another flower still-life, signed 'PHK', in the Balcony Room at Dyrham.©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Another flower still-life, signed ‘PHK’, in the Balcony Room at Dyrham. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Blathwayt’s ‘Hollandophile’ taste is still very much in evidence at Dyrham, with its collections of Dutch paintings (including other flower paintings) and blue and white Delftware. The de Heem will look right at home in the Diogenes Room, next to the Diogenes tapestries (also richly festooned with flowers) and Delft flower pyramids.

2 Responses to “A painting by Cornelis de Heem acquired for Dyrham Park”

  1. columnist Says:

    Exquisite! And a delight to see it juxtaposed with a tulipiere. The pair in the Diogenes room are stunning with their pyramidal form creating an interesting architectural structure.

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Indeed, a great painting and a great setting.

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