Broughton House

Broughton House, Kirkcudbright
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Broughton House, Kirkcudbright

Located on the High Street of Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway, and overlooking the estuary of the River Dee to the rear, Broughton House is an 18th Century town house first occupied by the Murrays of Broughton and Cally. It was extended in the 19th Century. In 1901, the house was purchased by the artist E.A. Hornel (1864 - 1933), one of the founders of the Glasgow Boys art movement in Scotland. The house includes a gallery and studio, which contain many of his works of art. These rooms are connected by a trapdoor that is hidden beneath a carpet. The gallery was designed 1902-10 by Hornel's friend, the Glasgow-based architect John Keppie (1862 - 1945), and features an ornate fireplace and Parthenon-style frieze, inspired by the Elgin Marbles. This is said to be one of the finest rooms in South-West Scotland and the house is now Category-A listed. There is also a significant library that comprises Hornel's collection of rare Scottish books, including limited editions of works by Robert Burns (1759-96). The house also contains a remarkable collection of furniture, furnishings and decorative objects - such as pewter, blue and white china, needlework samplers and antiquarian curios - as well as two Japanese kimonos and other items acquired by Hornel during his travels in the Far East. The artist also created a Japanese-inspired garden on the long strip of land behind the house, which comprise a colourful blend of Eastern and Western planting, with fine views over the river and Kirkcudbright harbour.

Hornel's sister, Elizabeth (or Tizzie) who has been his housekeeper, continued to live at Broughton until her death in 1950. Thereafter ownership of the house passed to the Hornel Trust to 'be preserved as a public art gallery for the benefit of the people of the Stewartry and visitors thereto'. In 1997, its management was taken on by the National Trust for Scotland and following refurbishment the house re-opened to the public in 2005.

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