National Trust

National Trust’s Dyrham Park turns conservation disruption into pop-up gallery opportunity

Article: David Styles | Image: © National Trust/Barry Batchelor

Dyrham Park, a 17th century National Trust property near Bath, has used the disruption of major conservation work to its advantage, relocating artworks that would ordinarily have been moved into storage to a new pop-up gallery.

While the work is undertaken, behind-the-scenes tours of the house will also be offered to visitors who wish to see the conservation techniques being used.

Major conservation work is underway on the grand staircases inside the hall of the 17th century Baroque house at Dyrham Park. The property’s two main staircases are undergoing vital repairs which would ordinarily mean the paintings hung on the adjacent walls would be taken down and put in storage.

Rather than following convention, however, the Dyrham Park team have decided to offer visitors the unique opportunity to see these artworks closer than ever before in a pop-up gallery inside another part of the property.

The east front of Dyrham Park © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Eilidh Auckland, National Trust House and Collections Manager, said the decision not to put the artworks in storage gave visitors a “once in a lifetime chance to see these magnificent pieces of art really close.

“You can see things you maybe wouldn’t normally spot and it’s a rare treat to be able to see these paintings at such close quarters in our specially created ‘pop-up’ gallery.”

Pop-up paintings

The relocated paintings include:

  • Portraits of the Blathwayt family, who created the house in the late 1600s
  • Landscapes of Greenwich and Portsmouth
  • 17th-century Dutch artworks including A Perspective View of the Courtyard of a House (c.1664) by Samuel van Hoogstraten

The latest round of conservation work follows a large re-roofing project which was finished in 2016.

The pop-up gallery is expected to be open to the public until 2020. For the duration of the project to restore the staircases, visitors can take part in ‘conservation in action’ sessions and join behind-the-scenes tours to engage with the process.