James Smith

c.1645 - 1731

Architect and politician. Smith came from Tarbet (Highland) and studied in Italy, initially for the priesthood. He was a Burgess of Edinburgh and Member of Parliament for Forres. He built Newhailes (then called Whitehill) by Musselburgh in 1686 as his home, but was forced to sell it due to bankruptcy, undoubtedly brought on by the need to support his 24 children! Noted as a pioneer of the Palladian style in Scotland, Smith is best remembered for his reconstruction of Dalkeith House (1710), the building of Hamilton Palace (1695; demolished in the 1920s), Yester House at Gifford, East Lothian (1715) and the Canongate Church in Edinburgh (1690). Smith succeeded Sir William Bruce (1630 - 1710) as Surveyor and Overseer of the King's Works, and as such was particularly involved in the maintenance of the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh. He also built Raith by Kirkcaldy (1696).

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