DiCamillo Companion

Blair Castle (Atholl House)

  • House & Family History: The ancient seat of the earls and dukes of Atholl, the turreted and gabled Blair is a gleaming white castle set in stunning Highland scenery. The current appearance of the castle is the result of an 18th rebuild around a 13th century core. The interior has noted plasterwork, fine marble chimneypieces, and a wood-paneled entrance hall. Thirty-two rooms contain furniture (five 4-poster beds), paintings, armor, china, costumes, Brussels tapestries, one of the four original copies of the National Covenant of 1638, and other treasures. Queen Victoria frequently rented Blair as a stop on her way to Balmoral in Aberdeenshire. Blair Castle is Scotland's most visited historic house and is famous as the home of the Atholl Highlanders, originally the only private army in Britain and today a ceremonial bodyguard.

    Collections: Blair Castle is exceptionally rich in 17th and 18th century furniture and tapestries. A great collection of ancestral diamond jewelry was sold by Christie's in 1928.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: There are extensive grounds with walks, trails, a deer park, and an 18th century walled garden. An 18th century, Category B-listed folly called The Whim, built for the 3rd Duke of Atholl and possibly designed by William Adam Sr., is extant.

  • Architect: James Macintyre Henry

    Date: 1904-05
    Designed: Alterations and additions

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    Architect: Robert Stodart Lorimer

    Date: 1920-21
    Designed: Alterations

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    Architect: James Campbell Walker

    Date: 1886
    Designed: Alterations and additions

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    Architect: David Bryce

    Date: 1869-71 & 1876-77
    Designed: Alterations and additions

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    Architect: Archibald Elliot

    Date: Circa 1814
    Designed: Alterations after 1814 fire
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: James Winter

    Date: 1743-45 & 1747-58
    Designed: Additions and alterations

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    Architect: John Douglas

    Date: Circa 1736-46
    Designed: Alterations and additions

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    Architect: George Steuart

    Date: 1777
    Designed: Lodges, greenhouses, and other buildings for 4th Duke of Atholl.

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  • Country Life: CVI, 1362, 1434, 1506, 1949.

  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pg. 923
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Category A

    Park Listed: Designated Garden & Designed Landscape

  • "Treasure Hunt" (1989 - TV game series, episode 7.6, "Perthshire"). "Blair Castle International Horse Trials" (2007 - BBC TV documentary, on the European Young Rider Championship). "Conquer The Castle" (2008 - TV reality 12-part series, following six urbanites living and working at the castle).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Murray family

    Past Seat / Home of: John Murray, 1st Marquess of Atholl, 2nd Earl of Atholl, and 3rd Earl of Tullibardine, until 1703; John Murray, 2nd Marquess of Atholl and 1st Duke of Atholl, 1703-24; James Murray, 2nd Duke of Atholl, 1724-64; John Murray, 3rd Duke of Atholl, 1764-74; John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl, 1774-1830; John Murray, 5th Duke of Atholl, 1830-46; George Augustus Frederick John Murray, 6th Duke of Atholl, 1846-64; John James Hugh Henry Stewart-Murray, 7th Duke of Atholl, 1864-1917; John George Stewart-Murray, 8th Duke of Atholl, 1917-42.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

    Ownership Details: Owned by Blair Charitable Trust

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01796-481-355

    Fax: 01796-481-487

    Email: enquiries@atholl-estates.co.uk

    Website: https://atholl-estates.co.uk/blair-castle/

    Historic Houses Member: Yes