On 18 July 1754, William Crichton Dalrymple, the 5th Earl of Dumfries, laid the foundation stone of Dumfries House.
It was the first country house built by Robert, John and James Adam – the brothers whose architectural practice was to become the most famous in Britain. Dumfries House lies within its historic landscape in rolling farmland to the west of Cumnock.
Completed in 1760, the house was adapted and altered over the years – most significantly and sympathetically by Robert Weir Schultz, a leading figure in the Arts and Crafts movement. Dumfries House is not only significant architecturally, it also contains one of the most spectacular collections of eighteenth century furniture in Britain, with works by Thomas Chippendale, and pieces by three renowned Edinburgh furniture-makers, Francis Brodie, Alexander Peter and William Mathie.
In June 2007, HRH The Prince of Wales headed a consortium of charities and heritage bodies to buy the house, its contents and its estate, with the express aim of preserving it in its entirety and making it more accessible to the public.
In this landmark book, author Simon Green draws on previously unpublished documents from the extensive archives of the Bute family, who lived in the house from the early nineteenth century until the death of Lady Bute in 1993, along with a wealth of photographs, plans and drawings from the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland.
Exploring the people and the ideas behind a unique building, Dumfries House is the story of the survival of a treasured eighteenth century family residence – at once the ‘homliest’ of homes and ‘a great undertaking, more bold than wise’.