Prized Possessions will celebrate the Golden Age of Dutch painting, the enduring British taste for collecting Dutch paintings and how and why this style of art was desired, commissioned and displayed.
Amina Wright, Senior Curator at the Holburne notes, “We are delighted to be working with the National Trust on this exciting exhibition of some of the finest Dutch paintings from country houses. The display in the Museum’s purpose-built exhibition gallery will allow the paintings to be seen at their very best and in a new and inspiring context. Sir William Holburne’s eclectic collection of Dutch paintings is one of the jewels of the Museum founded in his name, and he would have been proud to see such an outstanding group of works alongside his own.”
The National Trust cares for one of the largest and most significant collections of art in the UK, including many important seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, commissioned and collected by country house owners for over 300 years.
Works by celebrated artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Lely, Gabriel Metsu, Aelbert Cuyp and Cornelis de Heem will appear in the exhibition alongside less well-known names such as Simon Pietersz Verelst and Adriaen van Diest.
Curated by Rupert Goulding and David Taylor of the National Trust, Prized Possessions will explore what made Dutch art so sought after among country house owners and share with audiences some of the masterpieces that they treasured.
National Trust Curator of Pictures and Sculpture, David Taylor, explains, “The National Trust lends works from its collections to exhibitions across the world, but this is the first time in over twenty years that paintings from around the country have left their homes to appear together in a dedicated National Trust exhibition.
“We are thrilled that the Holburne Museum will be hosting this exhibition and we hope that the works we have chosen will delight not only enthusiasts of Dutch art but anyone who is discovering the joy of ‘Golden Age’ paintings for the first time.”
“The Dutch gained independence from Spain in 1648 and in a relatively short period of time there was a new confidence and prosperity that saw a burgeoning middle class with money and an interest in commissioning and displaying art.
“The artists who were flourishing at this time mastered various painting genres, from portraits, still lives and landscapes, to religious, maritime, and subject pictures, and the quality of their work attracted patrons and collectors from across Europe. Examples of all those types of Dutch pictures will be showcased in the exhibition.”
Highlights of the exhibition include:
Rembrandt van Rijn’s Self-Portrait, Wearing a Feathered Bonnet
Aelbert Cuyp’s View of Dordrecht
Jan Lievens’ A Magus At a Table
Gabriel Metsu’s The Duet
Pieter Jansz. Saenredam’s The Interior of the Church of St Catherine, Utrecht
Dutch art collecting in British country houses started from the earliest days of the ‘Golden Age’ and developed over the centuries, as tastes and interests changed.
Works in the exhibition have been chosen from twelve National Trust houses. They include 17th century mansion Dyrham Park in Gloucestershire, designed and decorated in the Dutch style by owner William Blathwayt; Ham House in Richmond which includes the Peter Lely portrait of the Duchess of Lauderdale who encouraged the artist’s career; and later houses such as Upton House in Warwickshire, the 20th century home of Shell Oil director Lord Bearsted, whose eclectic collecting included some of the finest examples of Dutch art.
A catalogue for the exhibition will be available. Exhibition tickets will be on sale from 1 March 2018.
Following the exhibition at the Holburne Museum, Prized Possessions will move to the Mauritshuis in The Hague in October 2018, and then to Petworth House in West Sussex in January 2019.
About the National Trust’s art collection
The National Trust looks after some of the finest painting collections in the UK with over 12,000 easel paintings, along with miniatures, watercolours and wall paintings. These include masterpieces by artists such as Titian, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Velázquez, Reynolds and Gainsborough.
About the National Trust
The National Trust is a conservation charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces, and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. More than 120 years later, these values are still at the heart of everything the charity does.
Entirely independent of Government, the National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 778 miles of coastline and hundreds of special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
More than 24 million people visit every year, and together with 5 million members and over 65,000 volunteers, they help to support the charity in its work to care for special places for ever, for everyone.
For more information and ideas for great seasonal days out go to: www.nationaltrust.org.uk