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Rozelle House

Rozelle House lies to the north of Alloway, 2 miles (3 km) south of the Ayr town-centre. It is the base South Ayrshire Council Museums and Galleries Service, home to the Ayrshire Yeomanry museum and provides a venue for art exhibitions and workshops.

The lands of Rozelle were the property of the Royal Burgh of Ayr until they were auctioned off to Robert Hamilton for £2,000 in 1754 to reduce the Town Council's debts. He had made his money from sugar and tobacco plantations in the West Indies and set about constructing a classical mansion house in the Adam style which was completed by 1760. In 1830, it was remodelled by architect David Bryce (1803-76). In the 1960s, the Hamilton family were forced to sell much of the estate to pay inheritance taxes and, in 1968, they presented the house back to the town of Ayr to be used by the people for cultural and recreational activities.

Now run by South Ayrshire Council, whose collections come from the former burghs of Girvan, Maybole, Prestwick and Troon, as well as items from Ayr which were previously housed at the Carnegie Library, Belleisle House and the Tam o' Shanter Experience. Artists represented include John Faed (1819 - 1902), Thomas Faed (1826 - 1900), George Henry (1858 - 1943), E.A. Hornel (1864 - 1933), G.L. Hunter (1879 - 1931), William Muir (1828 -1910), Alexander Nasmyth (1758 - 1840), Noel Paton (1821 - 1901) and S.J. Peploe (1871 - 1935). These collections have been augmented by new purchases, for example of paintings on the theme of Tam o' Shanter by Alexander Goudie (1933 - 2004).

In 1975-6, the matching stable block, which lies adjacent, was converted into the Maclaurin Art Gallery, using a bequest by Mrs Mary Ellen Maclaurin in memory of her husband, James Henry Maclaurin, who had died in California in 1919. The stable block had been derelict, but was rejuvenated by architects Cowie & Torrie. The Maclaurin Gallery concentrates on modern paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures including works by John Bellany (1942 - 2013), Robert Colquhoun (1914-62), John Houston (1930 - 2008), Peter Howson (b.1958), Robert MacBryde (1913-66) and William McCance (1894 - 1970).


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