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Bowhill House

  • Built / Designed For: John Murray, Lord Bowhill

    House & Family History: The forerunner of the game of Rugby was invented at Bowhill. The first game was played in December of 1815 on part of the Bowhill Estate called the Carterhaugh Peninsula, which is why it was called Carterhaugh Ba' Game. The man responsible for overseeing the first game was Sir Walter Scott. Bowhill was called "Sweet Bowhill" by Scott in his novel "Lay of the Last Minstrel."

    Collections: One of Britain's great treasure houses, Bowhill has an outstanding collection of art, most of which King Charles II gave to his illegitimate son, James, Duke of Monmouth and Buccleuch. The collection includes paintings by Canaletto, Guardi, Claude, Ruysdael, Gainsborough, Raeburn, van Dyck, and Wilkie, with particular standouts being Reynolds's "Pink Boy" and Canaletto's view of Whitehall. In addition, the only Leonardo oil painting still in private hands, "The Madonna of the Yarn Winder," is in the Bowhill collection (though it is currently on loan to the Scottish National Gallery). The Leonardo had been lent to a gallery in Milan before World War II and was stranded in Italy during the war. After the Italian surrender, the Leonardo was discovered, amazingly, undamaged in a cellar; the 8th Duke brought it back to Britain wrapped in newspaper. Bowhill contains one of the most important collections of miniatures in the world, with works by Nicholas Hilliard, Isaac Oliver, Samuel Cooper, and Hans Holbein. The collection of over 800 pieces features images of Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Mary I, Pepys, James VI and I, Elizabeth I, Katharine of Aragon, Henry VIII, and even George Washington and Benjamin Franklin! Relics in the collection include Monmouth's saddle and execution shirt, the proof editions Sir Walter Scott's works, and the famous portrait of Scott by Raeburn. The collection also includes Queen Victoria's letters and gifts to the Duchess of Buccleuch, her mistress of the robes. The gallery hall contains three great Mortlake tapestries depicting the triumphs of Julius Caesar. The tapestries were woven in 1670 from Mantegna's magisterial nine canvases, collectively called "The Triumphs of Caesar," which have hung at Hampton Court Palace since 1630. Considered among the finest achievements of Italian Renaissance art, the paintings were created circa 1484-92 for the 4th Marquis of Mantua (Franceso II Gonzaga) and were acquired by Charles I in 1629, when he purchased significant parts of the Gonzaga family's art collection. The majority of the Buccleuch collection formerly at Dalkeith Palace is today at Bowhill House. The magnificent marble fireplace in the dining room came from Montagu House, London, while the white marble fireplace in the Bowhill library was removed from Dalkeith Palace.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: John Gilpin designed the gardens and the landscaping, which are set within the 61,000-acre Bowhill Estate.

  • Architect: David Bryce

    Date: 1874-76
    Designed: Additions and alterations

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    Architect: William Stark

    Date: 1812-19
    Designed: Rebuilt house, together with William Atkinson, for 4th Duke of Buccleuch.

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    Architect: William Burn

    Date: 1830-33
    Designed: Remodeled and enlarged House for 5th Duke of Buccleuch

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    Architect: John MacVicar Anderson

    Date: 1857
    Designed: Remodeled and enlarged house for 5th Duke of Buccleuch

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    Architect: William Atkinson

    Date: 1812-19
    Designed: Rebuilt house, together with William Stark, for 4th Duke of Buccleuch.

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    Architect: John Gilpin

    Date: Circa 1832
    Designed: Landscaping

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  • John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. II, p. 198, 1853.

    Country Life: John Cornforth in CLVII, 1448, 1558, 1618, 1678, 1975.

  • Title: Bowhill: The House, its People and its Paintings
    Author: Duke of Buccleuch
    Year Published: 2012
    Reference: pgs. 106, 108
    Publisher: Scotland: Caique Publishing Ltd.
    ISBN: 9780956594822
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pg. 190
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Buildings of Scotland: Borders, The
    Author: Cruft, Kitty; Dunbar, John; Fawcett, Richard; et al
    Year Published: 2006
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300107021
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Country House in the 1980s, The
    Author: Young, John
    Year Published: 1981
    Reference: pg. 25, 26, 27, 28
    Publisher: London: George Allen & Unwin
    ISBN: 0047200227
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Category A

    Park Listed: Listed as a Garden & Designed Landscape

  • Current Seat / Home of: Richard Walter John Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 10th Duke of Buccleuch and 12th Duke of Queensberry

    Past Seat / Home of: John Murray, Lord Bowhill, 1708-14. Francis Scott, 2nd Duke of Buccleuch, 1747-51; Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch and 5th Duke of Queensberry, 1751-1812; Charles William Henry Montagu-Scott, 4th Duke of Buccleuch and 6th Duke of Queensberry, 1812-19; Walter Francis Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch and 7th Duke of Queensberry, 1819-84; William Henry Walter Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 6th Duke of Buccleuch and 8th Duke of Queensberry, 1884-1914; John Charles Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 7th Duke of Buccleuch and 9th Duke of Queensberry, 1914-35; Walter John Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 8th Duke of Buccleuch and 10th Duke of Queensberry, 1935-73; Walter Francis John Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 9th Duke of Buccleuch and 11th Duke of Queensberry, 1973-2007.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 0175-022-204

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://www.bowhillhouse.co.uk/

    Historic Houses Member: Yes


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