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Kelburn Castle, Ayrshire: monument to John Boyle, 3rd Earl of Glasgow, probably commissioned by Elizabeth, Countess of Glasgow, 1775, as executed (14)

1775
John Boyle, 3rd Earl of Glasgow (1715-75), was the third and eldest surviving son of the 2nd Earl and his wife Heleanor Morrison. He was an army officer, as well as Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow in 1764-72, and Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1754-72. In 1755 he married Elizabeth Ross, sister and heir to the 13th Lord Ross of Halkhead. It was presumably Lady Glasgow who commissioned Adam to design a funerary monument on the death of her husband in 1775. Among the extant drawings there are five alternative schemes. These have been sequenced here speculatively, in the apparent order in which the design evolved, culminating with the extant scheme (Adam volumes 19/17 and 19/18).

Adam’s monument was executed by an unknown sculptor within the park at Kelburn Castle, North Ayrshire, the principal estate of the Earls of Glasgow. The Boyle family (originally de Boyville) came to Britain in 1066, and have been in constant possession of Kelburn since 1140. Construction of the castle at Kelburn began in c1200, although the majority of the extant fabric is datable to 1581. Adam’s monument to the Earl survives within the park. It comprises a fourteen-foot high pyramid in high relief, with an inscription panel, coat of arms, and niche containing a sculpted female figure and urn. Kelburn remains in the possession of the 10th Earl of Glasgow, and since 1977 the park has been open to the public as the Kelburn Country Centre.

Literature:
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, index pp. 54, 72; D. King, The complete works in architecture of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, pp. 363, 367; C. Mosley (ed.), Burke’s peerage, baronetage & knightage, 2003, p. 1564

Frances Sands, 2014
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