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Buchanan House, Drymen, Stirling: unexecuted designs for a house for the 2nd Duke of Montrose, c1764(?) (5)

c1764
Buchanan Castle was built by the Buchanan clan in the thirteenth century. It was purchased by the 1st Duke of Montrose in 1682 who demolished the medieval castle in favour of a new house in 1724. The house was built in an arrangement typical of that date, being bisected by a longitudinal corridor. The 2nd Duke of Montrose commissioned John Adam (1721-92), the older brother of Robert and James, to make alterations to the house and garden in 1751. William Graham, 2nd Duke of Montrose (1712-90), had succeeded his father's dukedom in 1742, and in the same year he married Lady Lucy Manners (d1788), daughter of John, 2nd Duke of Rutland. He was Chancellor of Glasgow University in 1743-80, but did not involve himself in politics.

There are five drawings for alterations to Buchanan Castle, and as these drawings survive in the Adam drawings collection at Sir John Soane's Museum the involvement of Robert and/or James, as well as John Adam, with the works for the 2nd Duke at Buchanan House is possible. Therefore it is likely that the London and Edinburgh Adam offices were working in collaboration during John's employment there, at any date between Robert's return from Italy in 1758, and 1789, when alterations were commissioned from James Playfair. It is worthy of note that King has suggested a possible date of 1764 for these unexecuted designs, but there is no firm evidence for this.

Later, in 1789 the 3rd Duke commissioned James Playfair (1755-94) to make further alterations, but the Georgian house was destroyed by fire in 1850. A new house was built by the 4th Duke in 1854-58 to designs by William Burn (1789-1870), only for this house also to suffer a fire in 1954. The interior was gutted and the house remains a ruin. The estate was sold in 1925, and what survives of the service wing is now occupied by a golf club.

Literature:
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 5, 81; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, p. 123; J. Gifford, and F.A. Walker, The buildings of Scotland: Stirling and Central Scotland, 2002, p. 290

Frances Sands, 2012
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