PrincessaPetra x #BeKindForReal #TheSun Exclusively @ Inveraray Castle
Hello, sweethearts!!! 👑
Welcome back to another splendid Royal Endeavors episode regarding my fabulous adventures in Scotland, dedicated to the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell and the iconic, must-see visitor attraction on the West Coast of Scotland – the one and only marvelous Inveraray Castle.
Inveraray Castle has been the seat of the Dukes of Argyll, chiefs of Clan Campbell, since the 18th century. A visit to this Gothic revival style country house gives an incredible insight into the history of the Campbells, once the most powerful clan in the Highlands. There’s amazing art everywhere, from the displays of Campbell family portraits through history to the lavishly painted interiors. You’ll see work by Thomas Gainsborough, John Hoppner and French artists Girard and Guinard, whose only work survives at Inveraray.
Perhaps it was the French artistic touch and the baroque glamour of the interiors, the exquisite china and Highland ghost stories that fascinated me instantly when stepping into the extravaganza of this Royal residence, but that is not surprising at all considering the fact I was only surrounded by Art and Beauty. No wonder this envy-inducing castle has been selected as one of the 10 magnificent castles to explore in the old country of Scotland by CNN, precisely on National Tartan Day.
30th March – 31st October
Open Monday to Sunday
10:00 – 17:45 (Last admission 17:00)
Inveraray Castle has been standing on the shores of Loch Fyne since the 1400s, although the impressive castle we know today was inspired by a sketch by Vanbrugh, the architect of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard in the 1700s.
Vanbrugh died soon afterwards, but the great architect’s gem of an idea became the base of the house which the 3rd Duke was eventually to build. The foundation stone was laid in 1746 and what followed was the construction – to a design by the architects Roger Morris and William Adam – of a truly modern, baroque, Palladian and Gothic-style castle, architecturally before its time.
Both Morris and Adam died before the castle was finished and Adam’s sons, James and Robert, brought the castle to completion 43 years after the first stone was laid.
The castle we know today was the result of a fire in 1877, which resulted in the addition of the third floor and conical roofs on the corner towers.
The ground floor at Inveraray provides visitors with a fascinating historical insight into one of Scotland’s most famous castles.
The modest Entrance Hall misleads visitors of the grandeur which lies in store and on entering the State Dining Room they are taken aback and stunned by the opulence and colours of the hand-painted interior. Further exploration leads to the French-influenced Tapestry Drawing Room with original Beauvais tapestries. A concealed door leads to an exquisite display of Oriental and European porcelain in the China Turret.
The castle tour routes back to the Entrance Hall and into the magnificent Armoury Hall where visitors are greeted by the highest ceiling in Scotland and a vast array of arms on display before moving onto the Saloon with its remarkable collection of portraits and furniture.
Visitors enter the famous Armoury Hall containing some 1300 pieces including Brown Bess muskets, Lochaber axes and 18th century Scottish broadswords. They can also view preserved swords from the Battle of Culloden.
The Armoury Hall soars to 21 metres in height, the highest ceiling in Scotland, and houses a breathtaking display of arms. Check out the dirk and sporran belonging to Rob Roy MacGregor (1671-1734).
The fine State Dining Room and Tapestry Drawing Room contain magnificent French tapestries which were woven especially for the Castle, fabulous examples of Scottish, English and French furniture and countless other precious artworks.
The glorious Tapestry Drawing Room still retains the original set of Beauvais tapestries in the setting specifically designed for it.
The castle’s priceless collection of china, silver and family heirlooms spans generations which are illustrated by the fascinating genealogical display in the Clan Room.
Visitors to Inveraray Castle are often amazed by the brilliance of the extravagant decoration in the State Dining Room. The elaborate painting was completed in 1784 by two French artists Girard and Guinand, whose work only survives at Inveraray.
The painting is of a quality unparalleled in Britain at that time and it is of little surprise to find that Girard was one of the principal decorative artists employed by the young Prince of Wales when decorating his grand residence Carlton House.
The delicate tapestry dining chairs with gilding by Dupasquier and original Beauvais tapestry upholstery were commissioned by the 5th Duke on one of his visits to France in the 1780s.
The dining table, by Gillow of Lancaster dates from about 1800, the outstanding ormolu-mounted sideboards are from the late 18th century and the Waterford chandelier (the largest of three, of which the smaller pair hang in the Tapestry Drawing Room) is circa 1830.
A remarkably modern living room for its time, the Saloon was chosen by the 5th Duke to be a relaxing area, where guests could have breakfast, play billiards or make music. In the corner is a grand piano where the songwriters Lerner and Loewe composed some of the songs for their musical My Fair Lady, while staying at the Castle.
On arriving at the First Floor Gallery, visitors can admire a compilation of paintings and artefacts before moving on to the Clan Room, devoted to the history and development of the Clan Campbell.
In the Victorian Room, the principal feature is a Maplewood writing desk given by Queen Victoria to her daughter Princess Louise on her marriage in 1871 to the Marquess of Lorne, later 9th Duke of Argyll.
A gruesome and ghostly chronicle of the bloodthirsty past, divulged in the MacArthur Room, haunts the elaborately carved four poster bed, once the state bed of the MacArthurs of Loch Awe.
Leading from the MacArthur Room, the exhibition of photographs and articles in the Picture Turret depict the recent past including the wedding of the current Duke to Eleanor Cadbury and other family occasions.
Every Highland castle should be haunted! Inveraray Castle has some great ghosts, including the ‘grey lady’, only seen by daughters of a Duke of Argyll, a floating boat or ‘Galley of Lorne’ which floats away on the horizon on the death of the Duke and a raucous kitchen maid. And listen out for the harp music coming from the MacArthur Room.
The ghostly bed in this room is elaborately carved and belonged to the MacArthurs of Loch Awe. Legend has it that a young Irish harpist was murdered by the Duke of Montrose’s men in 1644. The bed was moved to the present castle from the old Inveraray Castle and the boy’s ghost was so attached to the bed it travelled with it. When a member of the family is about to die, it is said that harp music is heard coming from the room.
There are a number of paintings in the room including Scottish School portraits of Anne Nasmyth of Posso, wife of John Callander of Craigforth, later Campbell of Ardkinglas and her two children. There is a fine portrait by Gavin Hamilton of famous London beauty and society hostess Elizabeth Gunning, known as the ‘Double Duchess’ after her consecutive marriages to 6th Duke of Hamilton and 5th Duke of Argyll.
The 13th Duke and his family live in private apartments occupying two floors and set between two of the castle’s crenellated circular towers. Recent renovations included the installation of the house’s first central heating.
The castle’s beautifully maintained garden and expansive estate offers some fantastic beautiful walks alongside first-class holiday accommodation.
Look out for the daffodils around Easter, carpets of bluebells in May and the vibrant reds, pinks and whites of rhododendrons throughout the summer.
There is a tearoom offering visitors light refreshment and a gift shop selling a range of quality Scottish items. Run personally by the Duchess of Argyll, it serves up a mouth-watering menu using the best of Argyll ingredients.
I hope you have enjoyed my short presentation of Inveraray Castle but there is so much to see and hear about this Scottish masterpiece that I wouldn’t want to spoil your fun with further details. I will leave the elaborate task to your local guide and charm you with the elegance well documented in my numerous pics. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a beautiful wrap to my marvelous visit to Inveraray Castle, a remarkable treasure of Scotland. It won’t be long till we meet again for a new sensational blog post about Scotland. Stay tuned for brilliance in the making!
Your Majestic Highness,
The Glorious Miss P