Thursday, 29 August 2013

Crawford Priory Stables

A visitor to Crawford Priory, passes the stables, about halfway along the drive from the main entrance to the estate at the West Lodge.

The stables were built in 1871, for the sixth Earl of Glasgow. The year after he inherited.

Even if the stables are no longer used for the purpose for which they were built, at least there are still   horses.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Crawford Priory

Crawford Priory near Cupar in Fife was a house that once to belonged to the Earls of Crawford, then to the Earls of Glasgow, and finally to the Cochrane family.

The house was built in 1758 for the twenty-first Earl of Crawford, and later substantially enlarged and extended for the Lady Mary Lindsay Crawford, sister of the twenty- second Earl.

To start with she engaged the architect David Hamilton, but in 1811 Lady Mary retained James Gillespie Graham to redesign the house, in the Gothick style. So, he added turrets and pinnacles, buttresses and crenelations to create an ecclesiastical impression in a place that no prior religious associations whatsoever. Gothick was simply the height of fashion.

Lady Mary's heirs the Earls of Glasgow added further to the house, the sixth Earl of Glasgow built himself a chapel in the east front.

 Then enormous debt forced the seventh earl to sell off all his estates in a bid to retain the family seat at Kelburn near Largs. So in 1919 the house was bought by the politician Lord Cochrane, (son -in -law of the sixth Earl.)

It was after the death of the second Lord Cochrane in 1968 that Crawford Priory was closed. Since then the house has been left, to fall slowly apart.

And it has.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Jupiter Artland, "A Forest" (details)

A Forest, by Jim Lambie was commissioned in 2010 and placed on a Steading Wall. Described as, tesselated panels of spray painted chrome peeled back to reveal the background colours.

"The forest that we look at reflected in the chrome panels is being peeled  away revealing layers of colour. The reflection in the work will change with every season that passes."  

Jupiter Artland

Jupiter Artland was opened by Nicky and Robert Wilson in 2009, the most influential collectors of contemporary sculpture in Scotland. Both iconic pieces and site specific works comprise the works they have put on show in the policies of Bonnington House near Edinburgh. The success of the project is reflected in the delight on visitors' faces.  This must be Scotland's favorite contemporary designed landscape, a constantly evolving collaboration between the Wilson family, the deceased generations who contributed the mature woodland policies, and the artists they commission and collect.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Traquair The Bear Gates

Probably the best known gates in Scotland. Installed by Charles Stuart fifth Earl of Traquair at the end of the avenue in 1738. Used for only six years, famously they were closed after a visit to the house by Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie). The Earl declared that they would remain shut until a Stuart was crowned King in London.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Hyndford Bridge

An elegant and well built five arched bridge that still carries traffic across the Clyde three hundred years after it was built by engineer Alexander Stevens in 1773.

There is something  in the topography of the Clyde valley at Hyndeford Bridge. Even though the view is composed of few, otherwise unremarkable elements, they are arranged to my eye quite beautifully. So I always look forward to crossing here. Luckily living near Linlithgow crossing the bridge is on the direct route down to the border.

Before the bridge was built, the Carmichael family had operated a ford. The toll house still stands opposite the bridge, on the south bank. From the road , curtains drawn it just looks like any empty cottage, but having to nip behind reveals all the slates removed and the building in an advanced state of decay.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Kellie Castle Garden

Walled gardens, which originated in Renaissance Italy found particular favour in  Scotland for the protection they afforded in a harsh climate.The garden at Kellie is a traditional Scottish walled garden, with fruit trees, flowers and vegetables all grown together. The early seventeenth-century network of paths are lined with box hedges. The flowers are planted in the informal cottage-garden style, while the vegetables are grown in neatly tended rows.

When the Lorimer family discovered Kellie in the 1870's the garden was an overgrown wilderness. They planted the central grass walkway  and bisected it with a path lined with Rosa Mundi hedges. They placed the sundial at the intersection, an armilliary sphere that shows the movement of the celestial bodies.

In 1900 the Lorimer's added the summer house to the garden. A curious bird like creature perches on the roof,  stone signature of their architect son,Sir Robert Lorimer.

When the National Trust for Scotland took over Kellie in the 1970's they put their own inimitable stamp on the garden; it has to be said, to great effect. At the beginning of August,  after the roses have gone over, such is the skill of the gardeners at Kellie it remained utterly enchanting.

Hew Lorimer, the celebrated Scottish sculptor, and his wife Mary were the last members of the family to live at Kellie. Hew's studio is preserved at the end of the stable block.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Hundy Mundy

A high arch between square towers with pyramids on top, designed to be seen from one of Scotland's most important Classical houses. Both landscape and house are the work of William Adam, who began building Mellerstain in 1725.

Adam constructed the folly by reusing stone from an old tower house that once commanded the area.  A palimpsest of stone. Tradition has it that the tower had once been lived in by a Pictish princess called 'Hunimundias'. But the children at the big house could only manage to say Hundy Mundy, so that was the name that stuck.