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Haddo House

  • Built / Designed For: 2nd Earl of Aberdeen

    House & Family History: William Adam (father of the more famous Robert Adam) designed Haddo House in the early 18th century for the 2nd Earl of Aberdeen. The house, with its central Neoclassical-Palladian block with side pavilions linked by semi-circular wings, would have been very common in England; however, this style was unusual this far north, where castle houses were the norm. The 4th Earl of Aberdeen was a favorite prime minister of Queen Victoria ( (served her from 1852 until 1855) and she honored him with a visit to Haddo in 1857 (it was the 4th Earl, during his premiership, who persuaded the queen to purchase the Balmoral Estate). In the 1880s the interiors of Haddo were spectacularly redecorated in the Adam Revival style for John, 7th Earl and 1st Marquess of Aberdeen. It is because the 1st Lord Tweedmouth's daughter, Ishbel, married the 7th Earl in 1877 that we can see today at Haddo what the interiors of Guisachan were like in their heyday. And that's because Ishbel hired Wright & Mansfield to redecorate Haddo, copying decorative elements from Guisachan, her spectacular childhood home. The library at Haddo is noted for its pair of Wedgwood green Jasperware chimneypieces. In 1978 the Gordon family, who were seated here for more than 400 years, donated the house to the National Trust for Scotland; it was opened to the public in July of 1979. Wardhouse, Aberdeenshire, was built in 1757 for Arthur Gordon (a member of the Gordon family of Haddo House) and imitates Haddo in style, with a pedimented central bay with an oculus in the tympanum and quadrants linking the main block to the stable and service blocks.

    Collections: Haddo has a large art collection, including a series of 85 castles by James Giles, an early Claude Lorrain, and works by Pompeo Batoni, William Mosman, and Thomas Lawrence. In 2017, during an episode of the BBC TV series "Britain's Lost Masterpieces," art historian Bendor Grosvenor re-attributed the "Haddo Madonna" (a portrait of the Virgin Mary) to Raphael. The painting was very likely purchased by the 4th Lord Aberdeen in the 19th century.

    Comments: Haddo contains the most important Adam Revival interiors in the world.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The grounds at Haddo contain the Terrace Garden with geometric rose beds, a fountain, commemorative trees, a lavish herbaceous border, and secluded glades and knolls. There is also an avenue of lime trees that leads to Haddo Country Park.

    Chapel & Church: The ecumenical chapel, designed by G.E. Street in 1881 in the Gothic style, is attached to the house and still provides services most Sunday evenings. The east window has upper lights designed by Edward Burne-Jones, Street's most famous pupil.

  • Architect: Archibald Simpson

    Date: 1822
    Designed: Altertions for 4th Earl of Aberdeen

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    Architect: John Clerk

    Date: 1732-35
    Designed: Original design for house (executed by William Adam)

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    Architect: George Edmund Street

    Date: 1881
    Designed: Chapel

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    Architect: William Adam Sr.

    Date: 1732-35
    Designed: House for 2nd Earl of Aberdeen

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    Architect: Wright & Mansfield

    Date: 1880s
    Designed: Interiors in Adam Revival style for 7th Earl and 1st Marquess of Aberdeen

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  • Vitruvius Scoticus: Adam, W., pls. 54-56, 1810.

    Country Life: Christopher Hussey in CXL, 378, 448, 1966.

  • Title: Scotland's Lost Houses
    Author: Gow, Ian
    Year Published: 2006
    Reference: pgs. 167-169
    Publisher: London: Aurum Press
    ISBN: 1845130510
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Great Houses of Scotland
    Author: Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh; Sykes, Christopher Simon
    Year Published: 1997
    Reference: pg. 181
    Publisher: New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. (U.K.: Laurence King Publishing)
    ISBN: 0847820386
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pgs. 57, 258, 926
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Category A

    Park Listed: Listed

  • "The Aristocracy" (1997 - BBC TV documentary mini series).
  • Past Seat / Home of: William Gordon, 2nd Earl of Aberdeen, 1733-45; George Gordon, 3rd Earl of Aberdeen, 1745-1801; George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen, 1801-60; George John James Hamilton-Gordon, 5th Earl of Aberdeen, 1860-64; George Hamilton-Gordon, 6th Earl of Aberdeen, 1864-70; John Campbell Gordon, 1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair and 7th Earl of Aberdeen, 1870-1934; George Gordon, 2nd Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, 1934-65; Dudley Gladstone Gordon, 3rd Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, 1965-72; David George Ian Alexander Gordon, 4th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, 1972-74.

    Current Ownership Type: The National Trust for Scotland

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01651-851-440

    Fax: 01651-851-888

    Website: https://www.nts.org.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No