Dalmeny House

Dalmeny House
©2023 Gazetteer for Scotland

Dalmeny House

Lying in Dalmeny Park on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, some 2 miles (3 km) east of South Queensferry and 6 miles (10 km) northwest of central Edinburgh is the Tudor-revival home of the Earls of Rosebery. Although the estate belonged to the Primrose family since 1662, Barnbougle Castle, lying just to the north, had been the family residence until Dalmeny House was built by the English architect William Wilkins in 1814-17.

Dalmeny was the first Tudor-revival house to be built in Scotland, featuring octagonal towers, mullion and transom windows and carved chimney-pots. Inside, the rooms adopted the regency fashion of the time, but the hammer-beamed hall, stained-glass windows and fan-vaulted corridors are distinctly Gothic.

The marriage of Archibald Primrose, the 5th Earl (1847 - 1929), to Hannah the daughter of the Baron Meyer de Rothschild resulted in major sections of the Rothschild Collection of art and furniture coming to Dalmeny to join the existing Rosebery Collection. The result is an important collection of 18th Century French furniture, Goya tapestries, porcelain, paintings and other objets d'art, together with a collection of Burn's memorabilia. These paintings include portraits by Gainsborough, Raeburn, Reynolds and Lawrence, which are displayed in the Dining Room. The Napoleon Room contains probably the best collection of Napoleona in Britain, including paintings of the emperor, furniture used by him and other trophies, such as the Duke of Wellington's campaign chair.

Dalmeny was damaged by a fire during World War II, but was sympathetically restored, and played a part in the conception of the Edinburgh Festival, thanks to the enthusiasm of both the 6th Earl and Countess. Today, Dalmeny remains the home of the Earls of Rosebery, having been opened to the public in 1979 and available for corporate events.

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