Built / Designed For: 8th Laird of Auchinleck
House & Family History: Auchinleck House was built circa 1760 in the Neoclassical style of the Adam brothers by an unknown architect, though it seems almost certain that Lord Auchinleck, father of James Boswell, was himself involved in the design of the House. (The Boswells had held land in Ayrshire since the 14th century.) James Boswell, 1740-95 (author of "The Life of Samuel Johnson," 1791), became 9th Laird of Auchinleck upon the death of his father in 1782. Boswell brought Samuel Johnson to Auchinleck in 1773, where, in the Library, Johnson famously came to blows with Lord Auchinleck (Boswell's father). Boswell wrote much of "The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, LLD," 1785, in the Study at Auchinleck, the famous precursor to "The Life of Samuel Johnson." The House and grounds remained in the Boswell family until 1885. Lord Talbot, the last of the Boswell line, sold Auchinleck and its 900 acres in 1920. During World War II the House was used by Canadian, Polish, and Free French forces. In 1986 the House was sold to the Scottish Historic Building Trust, who preserved the exterior, but left the interiors bare to prevent dry rot. A lack of funds prevented the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust from further preservation; ownership was then transferred ownership to The Landmark Trust, who restored the House for use as a holiday home in 2002.
Collections: James Boswell's father had a famous collection of rare books at Auchinleck House.
Comments: Auchinleck is probably the finest example of an 18th century country villa to survive in Scotland.
Title: Landmark Trust Handbook, 21st Edition, The
Year Published: 2005
Reference: pg. 28
Publisher: Berkshire: The Landmark Trust
Book Type: Softback
Title: History of the Boswells of Auchinleck, Home of James Boswell
Year Published: 1999
Publisher: New York: The Royal Oak Foundation
Book Type: Light Softback
Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
Author: Sayer, Michael
Year Published: 1993
Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Category A
Park Listed: Not Listed
Past Seat of: James Boswell, 9th Laird of Auchinleck, 18th century; Boswell family here until 1885.
Current Ownership Type: Preservation Organization
Primary Current Ownership Use: Holiday Rental
Ownership Details: Owned by The Landmark Trust
House Open to Public: By Appointment
Historic Houses Member: No