Drawing Room


The decoration of the Drawing Room reflects various scholarly interests of the 3rd Marquess of Bute. Themes taken from heraldry, mythology and the natural world combine into a unifying whole of rich detail and design. The interior was largely designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson in the early 1890s and work continued late into that decade. Anderson’s ornate fireplace overmantel was designed to fit around the 18th century mirror now contained within. Remarkably the overmantel had been removed to the Wee Garden in the 1950s where it served as an entrance gate until being restored into place in the late 1980s. Initially the room had additional fireplaces at either end, prompting the comment from Lady Bute that ‘it looks very odd with three fires.’


The elaborate heraldic ceiling depicts - in a literal family tree - the male descendants of the 2nd Earl of Bute, the builder of the first Mount Stuart. On a background of polished mica the heraldic shields are entwined in a series of vines, a feature copied from the decoration added by the 3rd Marquess to the drawing room of the old Mount Stuart which had been destroyed by fire in 1877.


HW Lonsdale’s beautifully crafted stained glass windows depict figures from Greek mythology including the nine Muses, daughters of Zeus, the supreme ruler of the Greek Gods who also features here. The naturalistic carvings on the marble pillar capitals are also worthy of note and include a spider carved in a delicate web.


The riches of this room are complemented by works of art by some of the great Italian artists such as Tintoretto, Veronese, and Titian, largely acquired by the 3rd Earl of Bute in Italy in 1770 and 1771. These originally formed part of the celebrated collection built up by the 3rd Earl for his Bedfordshire home, Luton Park, designed by the great Scots architect Robert Adam. There is also a fine portrait of the future 1st Marquess of Bute by the great Italian artist Pompeo Batoni painted during the 1st Marquess’s grand tour.


The furniture is also worthy of note and includes various items designed by Adam for Luton, including the pair of giltwood sidetables topped with genuine Roman mosaics.

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