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Collection Summary

Collection Title
Decorative Art Collection
Substantial collection of 17th century furnishings, from two phases of work in the house, first in the 1630s and then in the 1670s. Items from the first phase include Long Gallery stools c1640 and sideboard tables of c1655 and an ivory cabinet c1655-60 in North Drawing Room. Most is from the later 17th century with great rareties such as the "Dolphin" upholstered armchairs made in Paris, lacquer stands for two earlier Japanese cabinets in the Green Closet and many other pieces with elaborate marquetry and silver mounts. There are other items from Japan and from Java, blackamoor candlestands from Venice, c1670, in the Long Gallery and "sleeping chairs" in the Queen's Closet. There is also more utilitarian furniture in the library and kitchen.
The 4th Earl of Dysart made numerous purchases in the mid 18th century which are exceptionally well documented and include gilded mirrors, puer tables, tapestries, silk damaks, festoon curtains and beds, mahogany tables and chairs and embossed leather wallhangings, while the 6th and 9th Earls provided additions in an antiquarian spirit, with reproductions of 17th century styles.
Ham is famous for its 17th century textiles, which include both Flemish and Mortlake tapestries and silk embroidered wall-hangings described in the 1670s inventories. The woven cushion covers of the lacquer and carved long stools in the Long Gallery, of about 1640 and the altar frontal and cushions in the Chapel are the greatest rareties. Fragments of damask and passementerie have survived and indicate the extreme luxury ofnd expense of the Lauderdales late 17th century furnishings.
The 4th Earl purchased tapestries after Watteau and Pater and patronised London upholsterers whose covers survive on some furniture
The North Drawing Room retains its original gilt bronze chandelier of c1670. 17th century contemporaries remarked upon the extravagance of the profusion of silver mounts extending to grates and fireplace furniture and many of these survive.
The Duchess of Lauderdale had an important collection of oriental porcelain which no longer remains at Ham, though a single 17th century Chinese teapot was donated through the NA-CF in 1994.
Date range of collection
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific
Associated Places
This collection is about

Location Details

National Trust, Ham House
Ham Street, Ham Richmond London TW10 7RS Great Britain (UK)
Open Map
020 8940 1950
020 8332 6903 
Visiting Information
House Saturday-Wednesday 13.00 -17.00, Easter to end October. Garden open Saturday to Wednesday all year, 11.00-18.00 or dusk if earlier. Closed 25, 26 Dec & 1 Jan. Special Christmas shop. Christmas lunches in Dec, some evening opening in Dec for gardens, shop and café.Guided tours of house by arrangement – Wed mornings only during the open season. Guided tours of gardens 2 and 3pm Weds (dates as house). Ghost tours in Nov (booking essential.Programme of events, inc. open-air theatre, house and ghost tours, school holiday family events, ‘Putting the House to Bed’ and winter programme of events inc. lectures, recitals and special Christmas evening opening. Admission charge unless NT member, reduced price for garden only.
Building Information
Ham House is unique in Europe as the most complete survival of 17th-century fashion and power. Built in 1610, the house was enlarged in the 1670s when it was at the heart of Restoration court life and intrigue. It was then occupied by the same family until 1948. The formal garden is significant for its survival within the area known as the cradle of the English Landscape Movement. The outbuildings include an orangery, ice-house and a still-house,as well as a dairy with cast iron ‘cows' legs’ supporting marble slabs.
Collections Overview
Original decor, furnishings and paintings from the 1630s survive in the Great Staircase, North Drawing Room, Long Gallery and Green Closet, much commissioned by William Murray, a friend of the king. Luxurious furnishings installed in the enlarged house by the Duke and Duchess of Lauderdale, also survive from the 1670s and '80s and much of this work exceptionally well documented in surviving bills and accounts. The National Trust tries to aqcuire original objects from the house whenever they become available and has also added other appropriate objects, especially in furnishing the below stairs areas and to provide lighting for the state rooms.
Display Overview
Many of the formal rooms as well as "below stairs" areas are open to visitors.
Star Objects
Green Closet with William Murray's cabinet pictures and miniatures, 1630s. Textiles including tapestries described in 1670s inventories and 1640s woven cushion covers of stools in Long Gallery, Chapel altar frontal and cushions.
For details of other collections held at the same location: See the location record

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