1683-96 remodelling of circa 1585 mansion; NW range added 1740-41 by William Adam. 2-storey with attics to S side. Quadrangular plan with wing adjoining to NW. Symmetrical classical design with projecting ogee-roofed pavilions and open porch to principal (S) elevation; balustraded parapet with flanking Dutch style curvilinear gables with scrolled skewputts to N elevation; prominent gablehead and wallhead chimneys throughout. Sandstone ashlar principal (S) elevation; all other elevations harled, apart from rubble to Courtyard and E side of NW range; ashlar dressings, including architraves to most openings; coped skews to gables.
S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: entrance to centre with open porch supported on pair of Doric columns; studded timber door in moulded architrave; decorative wrought-iron balustrade with incorporating monogram forming balcony to dooway above; pulvinated frieze and sun finial to pediment. Entrance and 2 flanking bays project forward slightly flanked by pair of banded giant pilasters; with alternating pulvinated bands; piended ogee roof above with semicircular pedimented dormer corbelled from wallhead; 1696 inscribed on frieze above lintel; ball finials to either side of pediment and carved burning mountain motif (part of Tarbat coat of arms) above. 2 bays to either side of central section (both ground floor windows to left are blocked) link to projecting pavilions with piended ogee roofs surmounted by square slate-hung cupolas with metal bellcast pyramid caps with ball finials; low doors (blocked) with moulded architraves, each with small pendant to middle of lintel to re-entrant angles; projecting quoins at angles. Projecting base course across entire facade carved with primitive floral and abstract designs and including rockfaced blocks (possibly to suggest rusticated basement). Moulded frieze inscribed 'ANNE VICOUNTES TARBAT' to left pavilion and 'GEORGE VICOUNT TARBAT' to right pavilion.
N ELEVATION: entrance to centre with moulded architrave and cornice and panelled timber door. 3 flanking bays; outermost pair on each side surmounted by Dutch style curvilinear stepped gables with scrolled skewputts; pair of small windows (blocked) to upper gable; stone balustrade between gables; carved panel with scrolled frame to centre bears Latin inscription and date 1685. Single window (a later insertion) to ground floor between 2nd and 3rd bays to right of entrance
E ELEVATION: pavilion of S elevation projects slightly to form bay to far left; small opening to right of windows to 1st and 2nd floors; dormer window to piended ogee roof; 2-bay gable end (slightly stepped on one side) to right; single small attic window; entrance to left of ground floor. Lower section to right, divided into 2 double bays and 2 single bays by coursed stone buttresses.
W ELEVATION: pavilion of S elevation forms bay to far right; dormer window to piended ogee roof; 2 lower bays with lean-to roof (gable end behind) to left; adjoined to left by slightly higher 6-bay section with entrance to 2nd bay from right. NW wing adjoins at right angles to far left.
COURTYARD: stone flagged yard with opposing central entrances to N and S. 3 regular bays to N side. S side is irregular; entrance to single-storey lean-to section (probably earlier 19th century) with flanking windows; wall behind with large double-shouldered wallhead chimney to right of centre probably belongs to late 16th century house; 3-stage octagonal stair tower corbelled out to square at top level, projecting slightly into courtyard to left corner also 16th century; canted side of smaller late 17th century stair tower to right corner. Irregular fenestration to E and W sides (E side largely blind).
NW RANGE (ROYSTON HOUSE): adjoins via short narrow connecting passage at right angles to far left of W elevation of main block. Main 8-bay section opens out at right angles to N of this. W ELEVATION: entrance to far left bay; entrances also to 2nd bay via flight of steps to 1st floor, 3rd bay via later single storey extension (partly lean-to) and 6th bay via later single storey canted bay with flanking windows. Irregular fenestration. E ELEVATION: single entrance via later single storey canted bay with flanking windows to 2nd bay from left; similar bay window to left; paired ground floor windows to 3rd and 4th bays; paired 1st floor windows to 2nd bay. Former entrance to 5th bay now window; blocked windows to ground floor of far right bay and 1st floor of 2nd bay from right. Single storey extension with piended roof adjoins at right angles to NW.
Mainly 12-pane timber sash and case windows to main block of house; 2-pane sashes and various replacements to NW range. Slate roofs; those to projecting pavilions to S and to NW range are piended. Prominent chimneys, including wallhead stacks to outer elevations of twin pavilions to S of main block and 4 gableheads: 1 at either end of S wing of main block and 2 to N elevation (and smaller wallhead stack in between); large double shouldered wallhead stack to S side of courtyard; ridge stacks to E and W wings of main block and NW range; wallhead stack to S of NW range; all coped and with round cans.
INTERIOR: retains number of very fine contemporary/early internal fittings in main block, including intact room schemes with timber panelling, decorative plasterwork and painted panels and 2 staircases with wrought iron balustrades. State apartments on 1st floor refitted by William Adam, 1740-41. Most doors, doorcases, fireplace surrounds, dado panelling and painted panels (mainly classical landscapes by Norie family of Edinburgh) date from this period, although some late 17th century features still remain (the upper panelling is probably 19th century). Entrance was gained by crossing courtyard to state staircase in N wing: late 17th century half-turn design with elaborate wrought-iron balustrade decorated with flowers and foliage in relief adjoining turned wooden balustrade at top. Ante room leads into main drawing room to N of W range: elaborate late 17th century coved plaster ceiling with painted panel of Aurora by Nicolas Heude at centre; painted panels of classical landscapes by Norie family over fireplace and S doors. Similar elaborate coved plaster ceiling in bed chamber to S with circular centrepiece ceiling painting of Diana and Endymion, also by Nicolas Heude; 18th century painted panels of landscapes over doors and fireplace. Drawing room to N of E wing has landscape panels above doors and fireplace; similar painted panels to bed chamber to S; probably also by Nories. Access to 1st floor of S wing via dog-leg staircase with scrolled wrought-iron balustrade. Room to W of S wing has late 17th century stepped corner fireplace and contemporary lugged doorcases; the panelling dates from 1930?s (it was inserted after a fire in this wing); 18th century painted landscape panels were inserted at this date; painted wooden beams probably late 16th century (they were uncovered after fire and inserted here). Timber panelling, lugged doorcases and stepped corner fireplaces to 1st floor of each of the pavilions; landscape paintings on plaster with painted monogrammed frames with foliage and animals by Norie family. 16th century spiral staircase to SE corner of quadrangle; smaller late 17th century spiral staircase to SW corner. Large 16th century fireplace to centre of 1st floor of S wing. Semi-elliptical tunnel vault in NW kitchen.
Statement of Special Interest
Very important late 17th century house with sophisticated French-influenced principal (S) elevation and some very fine intact internal features and 18th century room schemes by William Adam, with landscape panels by the Norie family (this was their most extensive commission). Built for Sir George Mackenzie, Viscount Tarbat over Andrew Logans late 16th century mansion (thought to have been L-plan). It had assumed its quadrangular plan by 1685, although until 1693 the main entrance was to N side. In 1739 it was sold to the 2nd Duke of Argyll, who renamed it Caroline Park (it was originally known as Royston House) in honour of his daughter, the Countess of Dalkeith. It passed by descent to Henry, Duke of Buccleuch in 1793. Latin inscription (now removed) above N front recorded that George and Anne, Viscount and Viscountess Tarbat built this ?cottage? for their own amusement and that of their friends. Subsequent tenants of the house have included Lord Cockburn and Lady John Scott, who produced the standard version of 'Annie Laurie'. Currently (1997) in private ownership and partially subdivided. See also gatepiers on West Shore Road, dovecot and boundary wall to NW and walled garden to N.
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