The House from "Morris's Views of Seats," circa 1875.
House & Family History: Baronscourt is, at its center, a block that is seven bays by two stories, designed circa 1780 by George Steuart (most famous for designing Attingham Park) for the 8th Earl of Abercorn. On its Garden Facade the main block features a three-bay pedimented breakfront with urns along the roof parapet and two-story four-bay wings on either side. The Entrance Facade of the main block has a large porte-cochere of four giant Ionic columns with wreaths on the frieze and the Abercorn arms carved in the tympanum by Terence Farrell. The 1st Marquess of Abercorn engaged John Soane to remodel the House between 1791 and 1792 (all of Soane's work was lost in the 1796 fire), followed in the early 19th century by enlargement of the House and the remodeling of the interiors in a sumptuous Neoclassical style by Vitruvius Morrison, who worked with father, Sir Richard Morrison, on the project. The very fine interiors include the yellow-walled Rotunda, lit by an oculus in a coffered dome and supported by gray stone shaft scagliola Ionic columns. The Staircase Hall has a ceiling of rectangular coffering with an acanthus frieze and fluted engaged columns. The staircase itself has a fine Neoclassical style iron balustrade. The Gallery, at 88 feet in length, takes up the entire Garden Façade of the original House. In the 1940s the Gallery was divided into three rooms for the 4th Duke by Sir Albert Richardson; in the 1970s it was restored to its original configuration (as designed by Vitruvius Morrison) by David Hicks, leaving Desmond Guinness to write in "Great Irish Houses and Castles," that the Gallery is "…probably the finest Morrison room anywhere…" The Old Dining Room has a mantel brought from another Hamilton house, Duddingston, near Edinburgh, and contains a life-sized portrait of John James, 1st Marquess of Abercorn, by Thomas Lawrence, as well as a Lawrence of the Marquess's mistress, Frances Hawkins, with their son, Arthur Fitz-James. The 2nd Marquess served twice as lord lieutenant of Ireland (1866-68 and 1874-76); he was created 1st Duke of Abercorn after his first term as lord lieutenant.
Collections: The Old Dining Room contains a life-sized portrait of John James, 1st Marquess of Abercorn, by Thomas Lawrence, as well as a Lawrence of the marquess's mistress, Frances Hawkins, with their son, Arthur Fitz-James. Furniture from Baronscourt was sold at Christie's on December 6, 1984. Bernardo Bellotto's "Two Views of Vaprio d'Adda with the Villa Melzi" was sold on December 13, 1991 at Christie's for £2,090,000.
Architect: Raymond Charles ErithDate: 1973
Architect: George SteuartDate: Circa 1780
Architect: John SoaneDate: 1791-92
Architect: Robert A. WoodgateDate: 1791-99
Architect: William Vitruvius MorrisonDate: 1819-41
Architect: Richard MorrisonDate: 1819-41
Architect: Albert Edward RichardsonDate: 1947-49
Country Life: CLXVI, 86, 162, 232, 1979.
Title: Great Irish Houses and Castles
Author: O'Brien, Jacqueline; Guinness, Desmond
Year Published: 1992
Reference: pgs. 204, 206, 209
Publisher: New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage, 1990
Author: Kidd, Charles; Williamson, David (Editors)
Year Published: 1990
Reference: pg. P 3
Publisher: London: Debrett's Peerage Limited (New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc.)
Book Type: Hardback
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: Grade A
Park Listed: Listed
Current Seat / Home of: James Hamilton, 5th Duke of Abercorn; Hamilton family here since 1612.
Past Seat / Home of: Earl of Abercorn, Marqess of Abercorn.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home
Ownership Details: Owned by Mount Castle Trust.