Lely painted her looking like an innocent angle. The exhibition text corrects this image of the former owner of Ham House. Lady Murray’s portrait is currently to be found in the exhibition wing of the Mauritshuis.

It is one of twenty-two works from twelve British country houses, now owned by the National Trust. All works date from the Dutch Golden Age. The Mauritshuis hosts a first: never before has art from the National Trust’s collection been shown in the Netherlands.

Unfamiliar with the National Trust? It is a British charity, established in the late nineteenth century. It cares for natural and historic monuments; including over two hundred British country homes with their outbuildings, parks and land. These properties are open to the public and welcome over 20 million visitors a year.

The country homes are full of art. The British aristocracy were avid collectors; including of Dutch art. Take one of the high-lights of this exhibition, painted by Aelbert Cuyp. British collectors developed a bit of a “craze” for his works during the 18th century. Result: all his best works are now to be found in Great Britain.

Cuyp’s wonderful “View of Dordrecht” dates from roughly 1655. It shows the town from the famous three-river-spot, where the Meuse splits into rivers “Merwede” and “Noord”. Cuyp’s painting shows buildings which still exist, including Dordrecht’s “Groot-Hoofd” and its “Grote Kerk”.

The painting is nearly 2-metre-wide. In fact, it was once cut into two separate works. Fortunately, the two pieces were restored into one “view” in 1842. This impressive “View of Dordrecht” usually hangs in Ascott House.

Apart from texts giving information about the paintings, the exhibition contains maps. These display locations of the various National Trust properties and some background information on each property.

Many of the houses are famous, with some having been used as locations for television-series or films. Of course, Lady Murray’s Ham House, near London, is among the twelve. Others include Petworth House, Upton House, Buckland Abbey, Castle Ward. As the properties are spread all over Britain: grab your chance having a look at this unique exhibition, located on your doorstep!    Kate Den    9th October 2018


Picture shown is Albert Cuyp, View of Dordrecht, c.1655, National Trust, Ascott House, Buckinghamshire – The Anthony de Rothschild Collection.  Mauritshuis exhibition photo: Ivo Hoekstra

DUTCH MASTERS from BRITISH COUNTRY HOUSES at Mauritshuis in The Hague continues until 6th of January 2019.