Catalogues of Pictures

Scope and Content

The picture collection at Dunham Massey today contains some 150 paintings, and roughly half of these are identifiable in the earliest comprehensive catalogue, dating from 1787. The majority of paintings are Booth and Grey family portraits. However, the collection is notable for a remarkable series of bird's-eye views of the Hall and Park commissioned by George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington, from Adriaen Van Diest (1696) and John Harris (c.1750), and for a small group of Grand Tour pictures brought back from Italy by the 5th and 6th Earls of Stamford. Many of the pictures were removed to Enville Hall when the 7th Earl of Stamford left Dunham in 1855, but were bought back by the 10th Earl of Stamford at the Foley-Grey sales of 1928 and 1931. Aspects of the picture collection are discussed in John Harris, 'A bird's-eye view of Dunham Massey', Apollo, July 1978, pp. 4-11, and St John Gore, 'Portraits and the Grand Tour', ibid., pp. 24-31.

The series contains thirteen catalogues of pictures at Dunham Massey Hall. The majority of pictures are oil paintings, a large proportion of these being family portraits, but the catalogues also describe watercolours, drawings and engravings. Artists are identified, where known. Pictures are listed room-by-room, and while the names of rooms have changed over time, it is possible to identify with certainty almost all locations. The movement of pictures between rooms and the removal of pictures to Enville Hall are recorded. EGR7/16/6 includes a valuation of the stock in 1819.

[Pictures are also recorded in the general inventories of household goods (EGR7/17 below).]

Related Material

BL Add MS 6291, f. 21: William Musgrave's compilation of painted portraits contains a list made by Lady Carlisle in 1766 of portraits only at Dunham Massey, under the title A Catalogue of Portraits at Dunham in Cheshire... as the same was taken by Lady Carlisle in 1766.