Our trip today was to the lovely country house of Newhailes. The original house was designed by James Smith in 1686. It was designed as a villa and you can still see the original size of the villa, looking at the front door the three bay windows on either side are the original size of the Villa. The front door was also on the other side and the new entrance could have been french double doors to the balcony but that is just speculation.

It was then bought in 1709 by Sir David Dalrymple and around 1750 the two wings that we can see were added. The wing on the right hand side houses the two story height library space, and on the left hand side houses the state rooms which include a drawing room, state bedroom, closet and a dining room extension. The library wing was started by Sir David Dalrymple to house his massive collection of books, which were removed to the national library to offset a tax debt of the last owners lord Mark and Lady Antonia Dalrymple. The state rooms were built for Sir David’s son to complete the paladian style house and make it symetrical. Also the windows on the right handside are fake windows, they were added as you could not have a blank wall and it was to make the building look symetrical and the windows fit in with the rest of the windows in the house.


This is the vestiblue area with its classical inspired door frames and rococco decoration. The original entrance to the house can still be seen and the views have remained unchanged since the house was built. The plasterwork was renewed in the 1970s and the national trust has not touched them since. The principal conservation approach is to conserve as found, so they have done as little to the building but enough to preserve it for future generations.


The chinese sitting room was originally the dining room in James Smith’s house. Most of the alcoves used to contain the china when it was a dining room now house part of Sir David’s collection. The shells that you see decorating the walls are scallop shells that were picked from the beach by boys that sir David payed for them. The shells continue throughout the house and seem to be the familys symbol though not officially as it is not on their coat of arms. There is painted images on the walls as shown in the last images of the slideshow have been perfectly preserved as they ended up being covered with hanging paintings which wehen removed showed the original decoration.

This is the library wing. This once held Sir David’s massive book collection which can been seen from the black and white photograph. The Portrait above the fireplace is of Sir David with his son. The fireplace is a roman marble fireplace straight from Rome. The book cases are double height with letters at the top which shows that Sir David had his collection is order and I suspect they would have been labled with its place on the shelf. The light fixtures were added later, I love the hands holding the lamps. Another common decoration is the skinned lion that is shown above the pediment around the portait.


This is the china cabinet wich one of the later Dalrymple family members added to show off the china that the family had.

This is the new dining room. The columns show were the original exterior wall of the James Smith Villa used to be. The columns were to create a screen between the dining room and the servery. The portraits around the fireplace show more members of the Dalrymple family one of whom helped to overthrow the stewart kings and replace them with George of Hanover. Again there is Rococco decoration, there is a skined lion on the fireplace and sunflowers and shells around the room. These themes are continued throughout the house and the property manager Mark McLean, who took us round, has written a paper on these recurring images and what they could possibly signify.

We now move on to the new drawing room. This room is the start of the new state rooms. again there is a lot of the same iconography that we have seen earlier on in the house. There is the added eagles at the top of the windows with funny beaks. The pier glass has a scallop shell above it and the paintings show more of the Dalrymple family. The door on the wall by the piano is a fake doorway as the state bedroom traditionally would have been through that door in other buildings but has been moved to the right as the house could not be extended beyond that wall or it would not be the same proportion as the library wing. The walls originally had chinese wallpaper covering them but were removed when they became damaged. The wallpaper can be seen in the closet off of the state bedroom.

This is the state bedroom, where the big mirror and sofa are is where the original state bed would have been with its bed hangings. The bed hangings were found by the NTS in a trunk that even the last owner didn’t know where there, so they are wonderfully preserved. The NTS created a state bed that would have been in the room with the hangings for one day so thay could show what they originally looked like on the bed. Some of the hangings can be seen in the interpretation room. There is a secret door in the room which was used by the servants to move unseen around the house. The last image shows the original chinese wallpaper and it would also have been in the drawing room.

The first image shows the original bed hangings on display upstairs. the other images show the bedrooms and the alcoves where the beds were and could be screened off during the day for intimate meetings with guests. Although the alcove in the dark bedroom was reduced to create a new corridor access to the dressing room so wardrobes were put in the alcove instead of the bed.

I throughly enjoyed my visit to Newhailes and would recomend it to everyone to go visit, it is by appointment and you are taken on a guided tour around the house. This is to help protect the house and help to conserve it. Thanks for reading and I know this is a long post but the house is so lovely and deserves a long post.


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