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Image and Architecture: A Fresh Approach to Sir William Bruce and the Scottish Country House

Image and Architecture: A Fresh Approach to Sir William Bruce and the Scottish Country House Charles Wemyss Kinross has come to epitomise a defining moment in the development of Scottish domestic architecture, when the retrospective image of the towerhouse finally submitted to the refinement and convenience of the compact, classical country house. This essay, which is based upon a close analysis of the aspirations and ambitions of Sir William Bruce's patrons, puts the case for an alternative hypothesis. The tower did not give way to the classical country house, as historians have proposed. Instead, both forms of architecture remained in demand throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, each appealing to different sections of noble society. Bruce was essentially a gentleman-architect . . . It was his function to design unfortified houses for the first generation of Scottish lairds to realise that the tower-house was an anachronism, and to persuade them to abandon the corbel and crow-step in favour of cornice and pediment. (H. M. Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects)1 The fourth and most recent edition of the Biographical Dictionary of British Architects has reiterated the tradition of previous volumes, which claimed that the stability of the Restoration created a watershed in the development of Scottish domestic architecture, when the retrospective nature http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Architectural Heritage Edinburgh University Press

Image and Architecture: A Fresh Approach to Sir William Bruce and the Scottish Country House

Architectural Heritage , Volume 23 (1): 117 – Nov 1, 2012

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, 2012
Subject
Works by Bruce and some suggested contexts; Historical Studies
ISSN
1350-7524
eISSN
1755-1641
DOI
10.3366/arch.2012.0036
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Charles Wemyss Kinross has come to epitomise a defining moment in the development of Scottish domestic architecture, when the retrospective image of the towerhouse finally submitted to the refinement and convenience of the compact, classical country house. This essay, which is based upon a close analysis of the aspirations and ambitions of Sir William Bruce's patrons, puts the case for an alternative hypothesis. The tower did not give way to the classical country house, as historians have proposed. Instead, both forms of architecture remained in demand throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, each appealing to different sections of noble society. Bruce was essentially a gentleman-architect . . . It was his function to design unfortified houses for the first generation of Scottish lairds to realise that the tower-house was an anachronism, and to persuade them to abandon the corbel and crow-step in favour of cornice and pediment. (H. M. Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects)1 The fourth and most recent edition of the Biographical Dictionary of British Architects has reiterated the tradition of previous volumes, which claimed that the stability of the Restoration created a watershed in the development of Scottish domestic architecture, when the retrospective nature

Journal

Architectural HeritageEdinburgh University Press

Published: Nov 1, 2012

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