DiCamillo Companion

Mount Stuart House (Mount Stewart)

  • Earlier Houses: The first house on the site (see "Images" section), a Palladian house designed by Alexander McGill in 1716 for the 2nd Earl of Bute (and remodeled by George Paterson in 1780), burned in 1877; McGill's pavilions are extant.

    Built / Designed For: 3rd Marquess of Bute

    House & Family History: Mount Stuart is probably the finest piece of domestic architecture to come out of the Gothic Revival movement that swept Britain in the 19th century. When the old 18th century Mount Stuart House burned n 1877 the 3rd Marquess of Bute was presented with the opportunity to build his dream house in the Gothic Revival style. His architect, Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, gave the marquess a palace of almost unbelievable richness and, throughout the house, incorporated religious and astrological symbols meant to express the 3rd Marquess's mystical religiosity (in a controversial move at the time for a high-ranking peer in Protestant Scotland, the 3rd Marquess was received into the Catholic Church on December 8, 1868). In spite of its hearkening back to a Medieval past, Mount Stuart was equipped with the very latest conveniences. It was the first house in Scotland to be lit by electricity, it had a complicated system of hot water pipes that provided central heating, and it sported the first-ever heated swimming pool inside a house. The house, however, was never finished, with much of it only completed by the 6th Marquess in the 1980s. Over his lifetime the 3rd Marquess sponsored the construction of approximately 60 buildings and was the patron of 12 architects, most particularly William Burges, who was his protégé and architectural soulmate. In 1920 the 4th Marquess offered Mount Stuart for sale with the condition that the purchaser had to demolish and remove the house; there were no takers, such was the revulsion of Victorian architecture at the time. The 6th Marquess, together with his second wife, Jennifer, performed a full-scale restoration of the exterior and interiors of the house in the 1980s and 90s. At his death in 1993, the 6th Marquess left the house and estate vested in a charitable trust.

    Collections: Much of the non-Victorian contents today in the collection at Mount Stuart came from Luton Hoo, the 3rd Earl of Bute's Bedfordshire seat. The Mount Stuart paintings collection today includes canvases by Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Ramsay. Pieter Saanredam's "Interior of St. Bavo's Church, Haarlem" was sold to the National Galleries of Scotland. The "Murthly Hours" was sold to the National Library of Scotland. The "Luton Guild Book" was sold to the Borough of Luton. An unknown copy of Shakespeare's 1623 First Folio (in three volumes and originally the property of Isaac Reed) was discovered in Mount Stuart's Library in April of 2016 (approximately 230 copies of the First Folio are known to exist).

    Comments: Mount Stuart is considered one the finest houses in Scotland.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The house is set within a park that includes 300 acres of woodland.

    Chapel & Church: The Chapel, likely modeled on the 13th century Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, was begun in 1896 for the 3rd Marquess of Bute. It's famous for its floor-to-ceiling white Italian marble interior lit by a lantern with crimson-colored glass.

  • Architect: Alexander McGill

    Date: 1718-22
    Designed: First house (burned 1877) for 2nd Earl of Bute

    View all houses

    Architect: William Burn

    Date: Circa 1820
    Designed: Lodge for 2nd Marquess of Bute

    View all houses

    Architect: George Paterson

    Date: 1780
    Designed: Repairs to first house (demolished) for 3rd Earl of Bute

    View all houses

    Architect: Robert Rowand Anderson

    Date: 1878-1900
    Designed: Second (current) house for 3rd Marquess of Bute

    View all houses
  • Vitruvius Scoticus: Adam, W., pl. 31, 1810.

    John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: Scotland, 1830.

  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pgs. 186, 630-31, 739
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage, 1990
    Author: Kidd, Charles; Williamson, David (Editors)
    Year Published: 1990
    Reference: pg. P 184
    Publisher: London: Debrett's Peerage Limited (New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc.)
    ISBN: 0312046405
    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)
    ISBN: 0859551970
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Category A

    Park Listed: Outstanding

  • "Castle in the Country" (2006 - BBC TV, second half of season 3).
  • Current Seat / Home of: John Bryson Crichton-Stuart, 8th Marquess of Bute

    Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: James Stuart, 2nd Earl of Bute, 1716-23; John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, 1723-92; John Stuart, 1st Marquess of Bute and 4th Earl of Bute, 1792-1814; John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute, 1814-48; John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, 1848-80. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, 1880-1900; John Crichton-Stuart, 4th Marquess of Bute, 1900-47; John Crichton-Stuart, 5th Marquess of Bute, 1947-56; John Crichton-Stuart, 6th Marquess of Bute, 1956-93; John Colum Crichton-Stuart, 7th Marquess of Bute, 1993-2021.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

    Ownership Details: Owned by The Mount Stuart Trust.

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01700-503-877

    Fax: 01700-505-313

    Email: contactus@mountstuart.com

    Website: https://www.mountstuart.com/

    Awards: Mount Stuart won a Scottish Tourism Oscar.

    Historic Houses Member: Yes