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Bellevue House, Drummond Place, Edinburgh: designs for a house and stables for Major General John Scott, 1774-76 (13)

1774-76
John Scott (1725-75) was the second son of David Scott of Scotstarvit. He was a military officer, attaining the rank of Ensign in 1741, Captain in 1744, Lieutenant-Colonel in 1755, Colonel in 1762, and Major General in 1770. Scott also served as MP for Caithness in 1764-61, for Tain (northern) Burghs in 1761-68, and Fifeshire in 1768-75. He was most famed, however, as a skilful and successful gambler, and reputedly earned a fortune of around £500,000 by these means. He purchased the Balcomie estate in Anstruther, Fife, and built himself an Edinburgh townhouse called Bellevue House, facing Dublin Street, in Drummond Place.

In 1770 Scott married Lady Mary Hay (divorced 1771), and then in 1773 he married Margaret Dundas, third daughter of Lord President Dundas of Arniston. It is likely that it was through this Dundas family connection that Scott came into contact with Robert Adam, whom in 1774 he commissioned to make designs for his house in Edinburgh. Adam made two schemes for the house itself, and the second scheme was executed, albeit with an alternative entrance loggia, or porch, to that shown in the elevation drawing. A later design for stables was not executed, and it is not known if Adam decorated the interior. Bellevue House was used as the Excise Office for many years before its demolition in c1840.

Literature:
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 12, 87; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, pp. 105, 127-29, Volume II, pp. 122, 215; History of Parliament online: ‘Scott, John (1725-75), of Balcomie, Fife’

Frances Sands, 2013
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