Arniston House


Arniston House
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Arniston House

This magnificent Palladian mansion lies 1½ miles (2.5 km) southwest of Gorebridge in a beautiful country setting. It was begun in 1726, built by the noted architect William Adam (1689 - 1748) for Robert Dundas, the 2nd Lord Arniston.

The estate was acquired by the Dundas family in 1571 and it was Robert's grandfather, who first lived there and founded a legal dynasty. Arniston House was built in two phases, money having run in the early 1730s, it was eventually completed by John Adam (1721-92) in 1755 funded by the 4th Lord Arniston, half-brother of Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville, who had married money.

William Adam's tour de force here is the fine two-storey hall blending Baroque, Classical and Rococo styles. A system of Corinthian pillars rise to the level of the gallery above where they are richly decorated by fruit and flowers. The younger Adam constructed the west side of the house and was also responsible for fine plaster interiors in the Dining and Drawing Rooms, which were damaged due to dry-rot in the 1950s but restored by Nichols Groves-Raines (b. 1940) in the late 1990s. The former was restored in the mid-1990s, with funding from Historic Scotland, however the latter remains a shell, begging for attention. Refurbishments completed in 1867 included the creation of a new library on the ground floor, with an elaborate cornice and Flemish chimney-piece.

The house contains fine porcelain and an exceptional collection of portraiture, including works by Sir Henry Raeburn (1756 - 1823) and Allan Ramsay (1713 - 84).

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