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Sir William Bruce's Hopetoun House

Sir William Bruce's Hopetoun House James Macaulay Hopetoun House, West Lothian, is often described as Scotland’s finest classical mansion, which is fair enough given that James Smith’s Hamilton Palace, reworked from 1693, was demolished in the 1920s. Yet, to laud the classicism of Hopetoun House predisposes a bias in favour of William Adam and his imperial frontispiece, begun in 1721, and the state rooms of his sons. It denies the fact that at the rear there is an even more significant house and one that may well be unique not only in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Scotland but also in Britain. The evidence for that statement lies not only in the surviving two-thirds of the mansion begun by Sir William Bruce but also in the plan and elevation published in Vitruvius Britannicus in 1717 (Figures 1.1 and 1.2). There are also the family archives that, though remarkably complete, do have significant gaps such as the absence of drawings. For the Bruce mansion the most important document is the great contract, over four feet long, signed in Edinburgh on 29 December 1698 by the curators of Charles Hope.1 It is from these proofs that scholars have derived differing interpretations. In his magisterial Lothian http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Architectural Heritage Edinburgh University Press

Sir William Bruce's Hopetoun House

Architectural Heritage , Volume 20 (1): 1 – Nov 1, 2009

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, 2009
Subject
Historical Studies
ISSN
1350-7524
eISSN
1755-1641
DOI
10.3366/E1350752409000168
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

James Macaulay Hopetoun House, West Lothian, is often described as Scotland’s finest classical mansion, which is fair enough given that James Smith’s Hamilton Palace, reworked from 1693, was demolished in the 1920s. Yet, to laud the classicism of Hopetoun House predisposes a bias in favour of William Adam and his imperial frontispiece, begun in 1721, and the state rooms of his sons. It denies the fact that at the rear there is an even more significant house and one that may well be unique not only in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Scotland but also in Britain. The evidence for that statement lies not only in the surviving two-thirds of the mansion begun by Sir William Bruce but also in the plan and elevation published in Vitruvius Britannicus in 1717 (Figures 1.1 and 1.2). There are also the family archives that, though remarkably complete, do have significant gaps such as the absence of drawings. For the Bruce mansion the most important document is the great contract, over four feet long, signed in Edinburgh on 29 December 1698 by the curators of Charles Hope.1 It is from these proofs that scholars have derived differing interpretations. In his magisterial Lothian

Journal

Architectural HeritageEdinburgh University Press

Published: Nov 1, 2009

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