Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle  was the creation of Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll. He inherited the title from his brother on October 4, 1743, at the age of 61. He decided to to create for himself a completely new  castle. So he engaged the Palladian neo-Classical architect Roger Morris to design it for him. The castle he designed is a set on a square plan with turrets at each corner and a central tower that emerges through the middle of the building. 

The central tower incorporates a hall with two flanking stairs that rise from the entrance level. Running around the hall and stairs were three floors of rooms and a garret on top for the servants accommodation. The Armoury Hall takes its name from the amazing displays of weapons that elicited comment from Dr Johnson when he visited Inveraray in 1773.

The Dining Room was painted in the 1780's with images of the seasons from Herculaneum by two french painters Girard and Guinland..

The Tapestry Drawing Room is hung with Beauvais tapestries commissioned by the 5th Duke in 1785. Known as Pastorales draperies bleues et arabesques, after J.B.Huet, it is thought to be the only set of 18th century tapestries still hanging in the room for which they were made. The painting is of the 5th Duke's daughter, Lady Charlotte Campbell as 'Aurora', by John Hoppner. 

It comes as a wonderful surprise to find  a room of such sophisticated and exquisite 18th century Parisian taste should be found in such a remote location as Inveraray.

Torquil Campbell, the present, 13th Duke inherited the title in 2001. He uses the castle as his family home.

The decorative painting, by Girard was carried out between 1785 and 1788.  His painting on the shutters is exquisite. 

In the corner of the Drawing Room, concealed behind a pair of double doors, covered with tapestry is the China Turret. The display cabinets contain a wonderful collection of Oriental and European porcelain.

The 5th Duke commissioned Edinburgh born architect Robert Mylne to reconfigure and complete the interiors. Mylne reversed the castle, moving the main entrance from the south to the north side. The former entrance hall was converted into a saloon.

The MacArthur Room is named after the State bed of the MacArthurs of Loch Awe,  hung, of course, with the Campbell tartan. 

The Victorian Room commemorates the marriage in 1871 of Lord Lorne, later the 9th Duke, to Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Louise.