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Exhibitions at Dyrham Park

Two women look at a display of information stands in a room at Dyrham Park, South Gloucestershire
Visitors looking at Dyrham Park's latest exhibition | © National Trust Images/Dawn Biggs

Dyrham Park’s latest exhibition is called 'the world of William Blathwayt and the birth of modern Britain'. All about the fast-changing world of the late 17th century, it sets the scene of the 1690s when leading civil servant Blathwayt started rebuilding Dyrham Park. It introduces the transforming local, national and global climate of the period.

What to expect

Housed in rooms never before open to the public, the exhibition is spread across three rooms. These rooms feature short videos as well as an interactive display of objects and collection items, which bring the late 17th century to life.

The first room sets the scene, highlighting well-known names and events of the time. These include the Great Fire of London, the Glorious Revolution, the establishment of the Bank of England as well as the growth in global trade, colonialism and the Atlantic slave trade.

Portrait of William Blathwayt painted by Michael Dahl, found in the Great Hall at Dyrham Park
The exhibition focuses on the world that influenced William Blathwayt | © National Trust Images / Ian Blantern

Introducing Blathwayt

The second room focuses on key moments in Blathwayt’s life during these significant historic events, told through theatre acts on a virtual stage. Then the third room uses special items from Dyrham’s collection to reflect his homelife and career.

Blathwayt’s colonial and military career meant he had many opportunities to procure desirable objects and plants from around the world. Among copies of paintings and maps, other items on display include pistols and Chinese teapots.

‘The exhibition is an introduction to this fascinating period of social, political and economic transformation – a pivotal time for Blathwayt to be at the forefront of government as a new Britain emerged and a new house at Dyrham was constructed.’

- Rupert Goulding, National Trust exhibition curator

Accessing the exhibit

The exhibition is open most days, subject to volunteer availability. It has level access and British Sign Language is available to accompany the films.

Previous exhibitions at Dyrham Park

Delft tile Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire 1036101
Delft tile at Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire. c1670 | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Colonial Dyrham

Running for a year from late 2020, 'Colonial Dyrham' explored the property’s connections with colonialism. It looked at its global connections and showcased contemporary responses to these histories through words, music, images and poetry. It also created a space where visitors could share their reflections. It was part of a partnership with the University of Leicester called ‘Colonial Countryside’, which aimed to teach people about the colonial connections of properties like Dyrham Park.

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Italianate double staircase on the west front at Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire

Discover more at Dyrham Park

Find out when Dyrham Park is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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