In the 17th century the Brits were mad about the Dutch. In this eventful century (to put it mildly) there were no less than 3 wars between The Netherlands and Great Britain. At the same time it was a century of unrivalled cultural activity and a huge cultural and economical cross-fertilisation of both countries followed (see also this brilliant book by Lisa Jardine). Many Dutch artists would travel and settle in England, some of them finding fame and fortune at court. The Holland-mania was booming amongst the English aristocracy, eager to fill their country houses with everything Dutch.
So it makes every sense in the world for my Dutch self to visit the small but gorgeous exhibition at the Holburne Musuem in Bath Prized Posessions: Dutch Masterpieces from National Trust Houses which is still on until 16 September 2018. The exhibition features some of the highlights from the many, many Dutch art works to be found in National Trust properties (the National Trust preserves and protects historical places and spaces and owns many country houses in the UK).
A great example is Dyrham Park, right outside the lovely city of Bath, where the Dutchophile William Blathwayt (1649-1717) (who also spoke Dutch) filled his house with Dutch art and artefacts. Read more about this place in this blog post.
The exhibition shows that not all amazing treasures are kept in large and illustrious museums, but that we can come across some true beauties right after our muddy hike over the estate and some well-deserved tea and scones.
The exhibition consisted of around 22 works, ranging from some beautiful landscapes by Hobbema and Van der Velde the Younger, and a beautiful ‘View of Dordrecht’ by Albert Cuyp, portraits by Rembrandt, Lievens, Lely and Honthorst, genre scenes by Metsu, de Hooch, Steen and ter Borch, as well as a beautiful church interior by Saenredam and a fabulous sea battle scene by Willem van de Velde the Elder.
If you can’t visit yourself then I hope you will enjoy these photos.
(Click to enlarge)
Catalogue available for £15. It includes nice reproductions of the works and a few interesting articles on the Dutch-mania in England.