Step inside the house at Dunham Massey

The entrance hall at Dunham Massey

We’re delighted to be able to reopen the house and welcome you back indoors from Monday 17 May. Things are a little bit different since we were last open, with one-way systems and safety procedures in place, and new stories to be told seven days a week. On weekdays the ground floor of the house will be open, showcasing fascinating objects from the extensive collection, displayed in the familiar setting of a traditional country house. On weekends, the Servants’ Courtyard is open showing how servants lived and worked here in the past.

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In this article:

Opening times

Ground floor: Monday – Friday, 12 noon – 4pm (last entry 3.30pm).

Servants’ Courtyard: Saturday – Sunday, 12 noon – 4pm (last entry 3.30pm).

Booking a visit

If you book a ticket for the gardens and park, you may also be able to visit the house. Visits to the houses are limited to ensure safe, social distancing and so we can't guarantee you’ll be able to view the house on the day you visit.

We know people will be disappointed if that's the case, but we ask for your support and patience during this time. Tickets to visit Dunham Massey can be booked here.

Staying safe

To help keep everyone safe, please follow social distancing and government guidance when you visit. We’ve introduced a new one-way route through the house and will limit visitor numbers so you may need to queue for a short while on arrival.

You’ll find sanitising points at the entrance and exit of the house, and sinks for hand washing can be found in the toilets at the Visitor Centre and Stables Courtyard. In line with government guidelines, you’re required to wear a face covering in indoor places, unless you’re exempt, so please bring one with you. We are also participating in the NHS Test & Trace programme and will be asking anyone visiting the house to scan the app or leave brief contact details.

Visiting the house

Ground floor, Monday – Friday, 12 noon – 4pm

While the first floor of the house is not currently open, there are still plenty of stories to be found on the ground floor. This year we’ll be showcasing fascinating objects from the extensive collection, displayed in the familiar setting of a traditional country house. From objects showing the 10th Earl's collecting habits, to the oldest painting at Dunham, there is plenty to discover. Make sure not to miss any of the highlights listed below on your visit:

125 Treasures from the Collections of the National Trust

Dutch Mastiff (called 'Old Vertue') with Dunham Massey in the background

Dutch Mastiff (called 'Old Vertue'), Jan Wyck

This unusual and dramatic portrait of a favourite faithful dog named Pugg or Old Vertue was painted by Dutch artist Jan Wyck (c.1645–1700). The dog was a type of bulldog or Dutch mastiff, a breed that was cultivated on the Dunham estate for decades. In this portrait, the house can be seen in the background. The Booth family cherished their pet dogs, and several other portraits still survive at Dunham Massey.

Highly decorative Ethiopian ceremonial shield

Ethiopian ceremonial shield

This highly decorated ceremonial shield made in Ethiopia was a gift from the Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen, son of His Majesty Haile Selassie I, to Roger Grey, 10th Earl of Stamford, the owner of Dunham Massey. Alarmed by the oppression of Abysinnia at the hands of the Italian government, Lord Stamford invited Selassie to Dunham, and a long friendship ensued.

100 Aspects of the Moon, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

This year, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi’s 100 Aspects of the Moon (1885–1892) will be displayed for the first time. Unified by the presence of the moon in each of the 100 woodblock prints, this series is often described as Yoshitoshi’s masterpiece work and portrays scenes from Japanese and Chinese history, literature and mythology.

Yoshitoshi was very aware of the traditions being lost amongst his countryfolk and used his work to celebrate the glorious and colourful past of Japan. His work reflects the intensity of social changes in Japan at the time, although he was unique in the way his work explores human emotion and psychology. Yoshitoshi used new techniques and methods in his work, creating an interesting tension between modernity and traditionalism in workmanship and subject.

This copy was given to the last Earl and his sister when they were children by Madame Kato in 1902. Madame Kato remains an elusive figure in the Dunham archive and research into her connection with the family is ongoing.

Due to the traditional, but delicate, East Asian concertina binding, we’re only able to show four prints at once. Check back in August when we’ll be changing the display to reveal different techniques that Yoshitoshi used.

Gyokuto – Songoku (Jade Rabbit – Sun Wukong), 1886

A tale from the 16th century Chinese epic novel “Journey to the West”, where the Monkey King (Sun Wukong) accompanies the monk Xuanzang on his pilgrimage to collect Buddhist sacred texts (sutras) from the West. In this depiction, he carries his magic staff and dances with the Jade Rabbit, the white rabbit that is said to live in the moon.

The Monkey King acquires several supernatural powers, including great strength, speed and fighting skill, and the ability to transform into various animals and objects. When he was appointed to ‘Guardian of the Heavenly Peach Garden’, he steals and eats three peaches, granting him immortality.

The staff which he carries in this depiction is his special weapon; he is the only creature strong enough to wield its 13,500 jin (7960kg) weight. It can change size, fly and attack opponents according to his will. When not being used, the Monkey King shrinks it to the size of a sewing needle and stores it behind his ear.
 

A woodprint depicting a scene from the play Kinuta. A kinuta is a block used for beating cloth once it had been starched and the sound is generally associated with nightfall and loneliness

Kinuta no tsuki (Cloth-beating moon), 1890

This print depicts a scene from the play Kinuta. A kinuta is a block used for beating cloth once it had been starched and the sound is generally associated with nightfall and loneliness. In this image, the woman’s husband has spent three years away from home and has not returned as promised. She is sad and lonely, which manifests into insanity and, ultimately, her death. It is said that the repetitive sound foreshadows that her ghost will attain peace through the power of the Lotus Sutra.

This print depicts Ochiyo, a young maid, who has received the news that her lover has died. Mad with grief, she stands barefoot on Gojo Bridge, as the letters spiral towards the moon.

Tsuki no monogurui – fumihiroge (Lunacy – unrolling letters), 1889

This print depicts Ochiyo, a young maid, who has received the news that her lover has died. Mad with grief, she stands barefoot on Gojo Bridge, as the letters spiral towards the moon.

Here, Minamoto no Yorimasa is awarded with a sword by the Emperor for his defeat of a mythical nue-monster with an arrow. A cuckoo interrupts the ceremony and the Minister Yorinaga asks: “Does the cuckoo too announce its name from above the clouds?” Yorim

Does the cuckoo too announce its name from above the clouds? 1888

Here, Minamoto no Yorimasa is awarded with a sword by the Emperor for his defeat of a mythical nue-monster with an arrow. A cuckoo interrupts the ceremony and the Minister Yorinaga asks: “Does the cuckoo too announce its name from above the clouds?” Yorimasa replies: “I only bent my bow, and the arrow shot itself.”

Weekend visits for all the family

Servants' Courtyard, Saturday – Sunday, 12 noon – 4pm

Step back in time and explore the Servants' Courtyard as it comes alive with history every weekend. Drop in for 20 minutes and experience what life was like for Dunham's servants over one hundred years ago. Join scullery maid Bertha as she goes about her day; getting up early and undertaking all kind of jobs before going to bed to get ready to do the same tomorrow!

A family at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

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