A Jacobean house transformed into a Palladian mansion near Plymouth, Devon, celebrated for its Adam interiors and intimate portraits of friends and family by Sir Joshua Reynolds, a life-long friend of John Parker II (1734–1788), 1st Lord Boringdon and his wife, the Honorable Theresa Robinson (1744–1775). The picture collection is largely the product of their efforts, with guidance from Reynolds himself and Theresa’s brothers Thomas Robinson, 2nd Lord Grantham and the Hon. Frederick Robinson. Little is known about the contents of Saltram before the first Lord Boringdon’s inheritance, though a portrait of Sir Thomas Parker of Ratton attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger is an impressive survival from the age of James I. Dutch and Flemish highlights include Rubens’ portrait of Vincenzo II Gonzaga, 7th Duke of Mantua, as a boy, which bears Charles I’s collection seal; The Empty Jug, a tavern scene attributed to Pieter de Hooch which belonged to the dealer and historian of Netherlandish art, John Smith; and Puritan Meeting, a characteristic work by Egbert Jaspersz van Heemskerck which includes the artist’s self-portrait. In the Velvet Drawing Room, the only painting in a British public collection by Willem II van Nieulandt, View of the Colosseum, Rome, hangs near to a group of cardplayers currently ascribed to Christoffel van der Lamen. The Siege of Maastricht, 1673, by Adam Frans van der Meulen and Three Huntresses Returning from the Chase from the studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens and Frans Snyders are of additional note. One of the few acquisitions made by Edmund Parker, 2nd Earl of Morley (1810–1864), on his tour of Rome in 1843 was a veduta of the Ponte Rotto by Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli. Later in the century, financial difficulties led to the first sale of a major painting in the collection, a family group by van Dyck, now in the Detroit Institute of Arts. An 1819 list of pictures, privately printed, remains substantially the same as a later edition which appeared in 1844. Saltram was transferred to the National Trust in 1957.
Alice Rylance-Watson, Assistant Curator of Pictures and Sculpture, with contributions by other National Trust curators and staff members (April 2022)