Take a virtual tour of The Dumfries House Estate.
The original contents have largely survived, with an unusually complete set of documentation, establishing provenance and proving authenticity.
Furnished with what were only the best names and most expensive cutting-edge tastes and designs, the room stands as a testament to the 5th Earl’s desire to dazzle and impress.
The distinctive pink wall colour though was not added until 1955 (by the widow of the 5th Marquess of Bute).
Click and drag to explore The Pink Dining Room on Google Street View.
The rococo style ornate ceiling was painted in 1955, but the design takes inspiration from the ruins of Palmyra in Syria. The design was copied from Robert Wood’s influential drawings of the ancient Roman city in ‘The Ruins of Palmyra’, published in 1753.
Being one of the first systematic publications of ancient buildings, the drawings had great influence on neoclassical architecture, and not least of all Robert Adam, who most likely suggested the designs as a fashionably contemporary incorporation.
The 5th Earl was told by the Adams brothers that no dining room could be complete without an Italian Renaissance painting.
The Earl picked this spectacular work by Jacopo Bassano, Jacob and his Journey.
Recently restored, this piece is a highlight of the room, as is its surrounding frame designed by William Mathie, a very fine example of Scottish rococo.
The handsome mahogany Chippendale writing desk, supplied in 1759 for £22, takes centre stage.
On the opposite wall stands a Chippendale style mahogany bookcase (not made by Chippendale himself) which contains a collection of ‘Mauchline Ware’ that has been donated to the Trust.
On top of the bookcase sits a bust of Apollo, attributed as being the ‘Bacchus’ acquired in London by the 5th Earl in 1756.
Click and drag to explore Lord Dumfries' Study on Google Street View.
Highlights in this room are the Alexander Peter sofa, Chippendale elbow chairs, and a Chippendale card table.
The family is also present as, the Ann Forbes painting on the left depicts the daughter of the House, Lady Elizabeth Penelope, as a young girl.
The Daniel Gardner painting on the right portrays her two sons, shortly after the birth of her second child.
The four poster bed centrepiece by Thomas Chippendale exudes luxury, and was by far the most expensive piece commissioned by the 5th Earl of Dumfries.
The one of a kind rosewood bookcase, by Chippendale, which now sits in the Blue Drawing Room, was also bought specifically for this bedroom.
The Family Bedroom is a true statement of Lord Dumfries’ wealth, taste and social standing, and a sign of his desire to attract a suitable spouse, following the death of his wife in 1755.
Click and drag to explore The Family Bedroom on Google Street View.
One of the three Axminster carpets within the House, the one in the Blue Drawing Room is an exceptional piece.
Dating from 1759 and one of the first Axminsters to be produced, the carpet depicts national flowers as well as colours that compliment the room.
The Adams brothers are thought to have had a hand in the design of this carpet. It displays a cornicopia of blooms, including flowering cactus, agapanthus, carnations and lillies; these were exotic plants that were hardly known of in Britain at the time.
The Samuel Smith Breakfast Table, purchased on 9th September 1756, directly corresponds with plate XXXIII in the first edition of Chippendale's director, published in 1754.
Smith was apparently the first London furniture-maker that Lord Dumfries turned to before he discovered Chippendale.
Perched on top of it is a Kangxi (1662-1772) Chinese Famille Verte Circular Bowl and Cover, painted with flowering chrysanthemum, peony and other foliage.
The ceilings in The Pewter Corridor were restored by former world champion painter Mark Niven of Edinburgh, with the assistance of apprentices, some of whom were as young as sixteen.
It was only through old photographs that the original 'Adam revival' design paintwork was known.
In 2010, the careful scraping away of paint in one section of The Pewter Corridor revealed the original polychrome decoration.
This section was then used as a template to restore the rest of the corridor to its vibrant former glory.
One of the domed sections revealed has been left unrestored and instead conserved with its original historic paintwork.
All the windows in this room are UV filtered, which protects the tapestries from any potential light damage.
The intricately decorated wood was carved from cedar and then bleached in the Bute workshops in Cardiff, before being transported to the Estate.
Click and drag to explore The Tapestry Room on Google Street View.
Inspired by his experiences on a trip to Constantinople in 1866, the 3rd Marquess commissioned his friend and architect Weir Shultz to transform the servants’ quarters in the West Pavilion into a luxurious Turkish bath.
Completed in the late 1800s, this was the earliest known example of its kind in Scotland, and consisted of a plunge bath, shampooing room and Turkish bath, with glazed white and majolica tiles which made up an elaborate floor mosaic, all lit by skylights.
The suite of rooms were only accessible through a connected smoking room, creating a private male enclave for relaxation and the conducting of business.
Click and drag to explore The Library on Google Street View.
After his father’s death in 1900, the 4th Marquess was more concerned with practicality, and had the Turkish Bath changed to a billiard room and library, again with the help of Shultz.
Unfortunately, no drawings or photographs of the Turkish bath have survived.
The new split level room, completed in 1905, opened up the raised Smoking Room to the new Billiard Room by replacing the wall with a column partition.
The skylight was kept and the room lined with bookcases for a collection of books acquired from Loudoun Castle.
This modern and practical arrangement is remarkably sympathetic to the original Adams design.
The room was completely remodelled by Shultz, who added restrained panelled walls, an 18th century inspired chimneypiece as well as delicate plasterwork of a more contemporary design of the time.
Under the 4th Marquess the School room became an office, and with its pleasant southerly and westerly views became one of the 4th Marquess’ favourite rooms.
Click and drag to explore The School Room on Google Street View.
The paintings would have originally hung in his Bedfordshire home, Luton Hoo. The collection includes Teniers’s ‘Village Inn’ and Van de Velde’s ‘Battle of Solebay’.
This rich array of paintings, along with other works of art throughout the house, have been generously lent by the 7th Marquess of Bute.
Beautifully carved 18th-century chairs by Thomas Chippendale and Alexander Peter line the corridor, with the contrast between Chippendale’s dynamic and organic shapes, and Peter’s formal solid design being quite noticeable.
Click and drag to explore The Picture Gallery on Google Street View.
On either side of the hall are virtually identical grand staircases; one made of stone and the other of wood.
These would have been used by the whole household, as there are no secondary stairs for servants.
Both staircases are well lit by large Venetian windows, and the Gallery is naturally lit by way of skylights.