Arniston House : reflections on its interiors, 1726-1850
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This thesis discusses the interior decoration between 1726 and 1850 of four of the principal rooms in Arniston House, Gorebridge, Midlothian, the country residence of the Dundases of Arniston, dominant figures in the Scottish legal profession during the 18th century. It is based on a study of the household inventories, account book entries, individual bills and, where accessible, extant decoration and furniture. Areas discussed include plasterwork, lighting, wall decoration, chimneypieces and hearth furniture, household furniture, curtains and flooring. Where appropriate, some discussion of the craftsmen who contributed to these interiors is introduced. The four rooms studied are the Great Hall, the High Library, the Dining Room and the Drawing Room. The Great Hall and the High Library belong to the first phase of building at Arniston, begun in c. 1726, to a plan by William Adam. The Dining Room and Drawing Room in the west wing, designed by John Adam, are representative of the second phase from the mid-1750s. Owing to dry rot in the west wing, the Dining Room and Drawing Room are presently undergoing considerable restoration work. It has therefore been impossible to examine at first hand various decorative elements in these rooms. Access has been limited to those rooms open to the public as part of a guided tour. What has become of much of the furniture is unclear. This problem has been aggravated by the removal of furniture from the west wing in the 1950s and its accommodation and storage in other parts of the house. Some items are on loan to Bute House, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. Other pieces may have been sold or distributed to members of the Dundas family. As a result of the above circumstances, a considerable amount of this research has had to be based on documentary evidence and photographs.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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