Dunham Massey, an early Georgian house with sumptuous Edwardian interiors, was left to the National Trust with its contents, Tudor mill and ancient deer park by Roger Grey (1896–1976), 10th Earl of Stamford. The collection of paintings consists primarily of family portraits, of the Booths, by Lely, Kneller and Michael Dahl and the Greys by Reynolds and Romney. There are also paintings of their animals – a tradition started around 1690 by George Booth (1675–1758), 2nd Earl of Warrington with his mastiff dog, ‘Old Vertue’ by Jan Wyck. There are unusual bird’s-eye views of the house and park, one by Adriaen van Diest, 1697, and others by John Harris from around 1750. The 4th, 5th, and 6th Earls of Stamford were the principal collectors. Although, undoubtedly, the greatest artistic treasure of Dunham is a carving by Grinling Gibbons of The Crucifixion (1671), there are good copies of Old Master paintings by Titian, Holbein and Sebastiano del Piombo and an original 'An Allegory with Venus, Mars, Cupid and Time' by Guercino, probably bought by Harry Grey (1715–1768), 4th Earl of Stamford, in 1758. The 5th Earl and his older friend and neighbour, Sir Henry Mainwaring (1726–1797), 4th Bt, went to Italy in 1760, and sat to Mengs and Batoni respectively. Nathaniel Dance painted their double portrait, of which there is also a miniature copy by Mengs’ sister, Theresa. Their amusements were commemorated more informally by Thomas Patch in two of his earliest caricatures of the British on the Grand Tour in Italy: 'A Punch Party in Florence', 1760 and 'Antiquaries at Pola'. Most recently, an early Tudor portrait, of Lord Chancellor Egerton’s granddaughter, Vere Egerton, wife of William Booth, was re-acquired.
National Trust, Dunham Massey
Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 4SJ England
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20 June 2021
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