The transformation of Drumlanrig Castle at the end of seventeenth-century

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The transformation of Drumlanrig Castle between 1679-98 makes it one of the most original and interesting build ings of its time in Britain. It was carried out at almost the same time as the Royal Palace of Holyrood, whose design, construction and procurement influenced the making of Drumlanrig. James Smith, one of the mason-contractors at Holyrood, went to work at Drumlanrig as an independent architect for the first time, providing a unique design that was in continuity with local practices but also aware of contemporary Continental architectural developments. The careful selection of craftsmen, techniques and materials make this building one of the finest in Scotland. Although the original drawings and accounts of the project have now disappeared, it is possible to trace the history of its design and construction through a series of documents and drawings at Drumlanrig Castle and by looking at the building itself. This paper will unravel the transformation of the building at the end of seventeenth-century, identifying the people, skills, materials, technologies and practices involved and discussing how the design ideas were implemented during the construction.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2014
EventFirst Construction History Conference - Queens' College, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Apr 201412 Apr 2014


ConferenceFirst Construction History Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • construction history
  • Drumlanrig Castle
  • seventeenth century architecture


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