15-06-12-2195NE02A Cornelis de Heem.jpg
The still life by Dutch artist Cornelis de Heem that has been returned to its historical home, The National Trust’s Dyrham Park in Gloucestershire. The painting was bought through London dealer Johnny Van Haeften for £574,000.

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William Blathwayt (c.1649-1717), the builder of Dyrham Park, was secretary at war to William III and frequently visited the Low Countries throughout the 1690s, accompanying the king on his military campaigns. A connoisseur of art, as well as having interests in gardening, music, and architecture, he probably acquired the de Heem, A Still Life of Flowers and Fruit arranged on a Stone Plinth in a Garden, dated to 1686-89, on one of these tours.

The painting remained at Dyrham Park for about 260 years until 1956 when many items from the property were sold at Sotheby's (the de Heem bringing £1250). It was in an English private collection until it was acquired by van Haeften in 2013.

Rupert Goulding, National Trust curator, said: "It is always exciting when an item from an original collection can come back to the place for which it was first acquired and we are indebted to the organisations and individuals whose generous donations allowed us to bring the de Heem home to Dyrham."

Since the 1956 sale, it has been the National Trust's policy to reacquire items associated with Dyrham, in particular high-quality 17th-century works of art associated with Blathwayt.