Mount Stuart Horoscopes
After all, it’s written in the stars...
The 12 stained glass windows in the Marble Hall each depict a sign of the zodiac, moving through the seasons on each side of the Hall. Designed by H.W. Lonsdale, each window depicts the constellation associated with a star sign enlivened with inserted cut prisms which reflect rainbows around the Marble Hall as the sun shines through them.
For a bit of fun, we’ve chosen a room in the house and an area of the garden based on the personality traits for each star sign. Each month we’ll post a new ‘Mount Stuart Horoscope’. Check back in to read yours and explore your perfect rooms and part of the Garden and make a plan to explore your horoscope on site when we are open again.
March 21 – April 20
In the Aries window a Golden Ram attempts to save twins Phryxus and Helle from being sacrificed to end a famine. Helle falls into the Dardanelles, also known as the Hellespont, during their flight and drowns. Phryxus later sacrifices the Ram to Aries, the God of War. His Golden Fleece, which Jason and the Argonauts are later sent to recover, is hung in a grotto in Colchis. The constellations of the River Eridanus and Cetus, the Whale are depicted beneath the figures.
Aries are confident and enthusiastic but can be impatient, impulsive and short-tempered, so which better room for you than the Henry VIII Bedroom named after the King who famously established a whole religion so he could get divorced. That’s confidence for you.
Those born under Aries are also known for their courage and determination so a stroll along our Shore Walk is your best bet. It’ll definitely be worth the effort.
21 April – 21 May
In this window Orion kneels before the bull Taurus wearing the pelt of a lion. Beside Orion are the constellations of Lepus, the Hare, and the river Eridanus. In Greek Mythology Taurus is associated with Zeus who disguised himself as a white bull to kidnap the Phoenician princess, Europa.
If you’re a Taurus you’re known for your practicality, patience and love of home comforts so why not enjoy the calm of the Swimming Pool. Just one of the many innovations at Mount Stuart, including a passenger lift and an early telephone system, it was the world’s first domestic, heated swimming pool and it still works!
Taureans’ have a strong sense of loyalty, steadfastness and perseverance so after a trip round the house head straight to the Rock Garden, you won’t have to go far and can climb through the tranquil ponds in this 2 acre garden designed by Thomas Mawson. The ingenuity and engineering required to create this amazing landscape of pools is a great example of the fruits of perseverance. The life of the Rock Garden continued into the 20th Century with many Asian plants added by the 6th Marquess and his wife Jennifer Bute.
In the Bute Family, Johnny, the current Marquess of Bute, and his brother Anthony are both Taureans.
Castor and Pollox were twins in Greek and Roman mythology with two fathers; Castor was the mortal son of the King of Sparta and Pollox was the immortal son of Zeus. Below them in the window are the constellations Canis Minor, with the star Procyon on his collar, and Monoceros, the Unicorn.
Geminis are famously indecisive but are quick to learn and adaptable so we’ve made the decision of where to head first for you: the Library! Peruse the titles on the shelves to assuage your curiosity. The oldest book in the Library is from 1193, the Ambrosii Epistola, ask a member of staff to point it out to you when you visit.
Once you’ve had your fill of the House head outside to the policies. The Upper and Lower Polices policies cover a huge area of our grounds so there’s no need to be indecisive here – explore to your heart’s content!
The 3rd Earl of Bute and the 4th Marquess were both Geminis. The 3rd Earl definitely had a curious mind – interested in many topics from art to horticulture, amassing a stunning collection of artworks and helping to establish Kew Gardens.
June 21 – July 22
Heracles in Greek Mythology (Hercules if you’re Roman) is depicted in this window fighting the head of the Hydra. The Crab was immortalised by Hera, Heracles enemy, after it appeared to distract him from his task and was slain. Cancer is known as a ‘Dark Sign’ because it is made up of a few, not very bright stars.
Sympathetic, loyal and tenacious are all personality traits of Cancers so why not head to the Lady Bute room which was intended for Gwendolen, 3rd Marchioness of Bute, whose loving, devoted partnership with the 3rd Marquess of Bute defied many Victorian standards as to how men and women should behave. Cancers are also very persuasive and, as the 3rd Marquess hoped, Gwendolen was a restraining influence whose 'common sense will be a great help to me...for you know that I am myself often vacillating.'
Venture out into the Garden to indulge your moody and suspicious side and hide away for a moment in our Folly on Beech Tree Walk between the Lawn and the Shore.
June 21 – July 22
Leo, represented by a lion, was one of the earliest recognised constellations. It’s brightest star, Regulus or King Star, can be seen on the lion’s chest. The Nemean Lion is often associated with the constellation and was killed by Heracles in the first of his twelve labours, the Lion was honoured for his sacrifice by Zeus when he was added to the sky.
Leos are creative, generous and cheerful but can be arrogant and inflexible so the cold marble of the Marble Chapel warmed to glowing red by the stained glass windows is the perfect place for you to reflect. Explore your artistic side with the Carrera marble patterns on the floor, based on the designs in the Sistine Chapel, and the Tom Errington designs of the saints and angels in the cupola.
Wait for a sunny day to head to the beach and be as lazy as you want, relaxing on our beautiful shoreline.
The 2nd and 5th Marquess’ were both Leos, as was Lady Louisa Stuart, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Bute, who was a writer in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
August 23 – September 22
The Virgo window depicts Erigone, whose father, Icarius, seen at the bottom of the window, discovered the art of wine-making. He was murdered by his intoxicated friends who believed they had been poisoned and Erigone hung herself in her grief, praying to Hera that all the virgins of Athens would follow suit until the culprits were caught. An alternative myth is that Dionysus, god of wine (among other things), punished Athens for Icarius death by having the city’s maidens hang themselves. The other constellations in this window are The Crater, Dionysus’ wine cup, Columba, the dove and Corvus, the Crow.
The Gallery is the great for people watching so it’s the perfect place for a shy, analytical Virgo. On a sunny day you can watch rainbows make their way across the Marble Hall. Virgos can tend to be worriers, overly critical of themselves and focused on work over play so once you’ve systematically visited all of the House head out to the lawn, lie down and relax!
The 3rd Marquess of Bute was a Virgo and the painstaking exactness with which he had Mount Stuart designed and built to his specifications might be in part an expression of his star sign, if you believe in this sort of thing, that is.
September 23 – October 22
This window represents the autumn equinox, when day and night, depicted here by the two babies, are in equal balance. The claws of Scorpio’s scorpion come into this window to disrupt the balance of the scales. Also depicted in this window is Lupus, the wolf and the pine cone at the head of Dionysus’ wand, Thyrsus.
Libras are known to be diplomatic, social and co-operative so start your journey round Mount Stuart in the Marble Hall, the centre of the house. The symmetry in the Hall will be pleasing to a Libra’s desire for balance; although if you look closely you’ll see some details are unfinished, this is because the 3rd Marquess of Bute died before Mount Stuart could be completed.
The two large tapestries in the Marble Hall were made by the Edinburgh Tapestry Company, now Dovecot Studios, set up by the 4th Marquess of Bute in 1912. The Lord of the Hunt made between 1912-1924 and The Time of the Meeting made 1933-1938 depict traditional scenes of Scottish life.
In our gardens there’s no better place to be co-operative than the Kitchen Garden where our team work together to grow amazing seasonal vegetables that we use in the Bute Kitchen.
October 23 – November 21
The tail of the Scorpion from the Libra window extends into the Scorpio window in an attempt to sting Artemis, Goddess of the moon and hunting. Most of this constellation is in the Southern Hemisphere so not best seen from Scotland. The star system that makes up the tail of the scorpion is named Shaula and is one of the brightest stars in the sky.
Scorpios are full of contradictions but fiercely loyal so make yourself at home in the Family Bedroom. Here you’re connected to the Horoscope Room and the Lady Bute Room. The murals around the Family Bedroom depict the story of St Margaret.
Scorpios can be secretive so if you’re looking to get away from it all head out in to the grounds to find the Beehive Well – a hidden gem in our grounds!
November 22 – December 21
Sagittarius is usually represented by an Archer and here Lonsdale has chosen Cheiron, the centaur who taught Jason and Achilles the art of war. Jason and Achilles are the two boys depicted in this window. The constellation of Sagittarius was formed by Cheiron to help guide Jason and the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece. The wreath at the feet of the centaur is Corona Austrilis, the Southern Crown which is close to Sagittarius in the Southern Hemisphere.
Sagittarius’ are generous, idealistic and have a great sense of humour so the perfect room for you is the Horoscope Room (how fitting!) with amusing decorative touches carved into the bed and the panelling. The position of the stars and planets at the time of the 3rd Marquess birth adorn the ceiling – when the ceiling was restored in the 1980s Pluto, which hadn’t been discovered in the 19th Century, was added.
Your adventurous side can be indulged with a walk up to Calvary pond. Representing the 12 Stations of the Cross from the Shore up Racers’ Burn this walk ends with a large heart shaped pool designed by Thomas Mawson for the 3rd Marquess.
December 22 – January 19
Amalthea, the Sea-Goat, was tasked by Rhea to look after her youngest son Zeus to prevent his father, the God Cronus, from eating him. Amalthea suckled Zeus in a cave to keep him hidden. Zeus was bathed in the River Nela and was raised to the status of a God after which he killed Chronus and elevated Amalthea to the stars. The women in this window are Rhea, a Titan, and Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love.
Capricorns are ambitious and self-reliant so some alone time in the tiny Burges Chapel is perfect for some contemplation. Luckily this chapel, a wonderful example of the work of William Burges, who worked with the 3rd Marquess on Cardiff Castle, survived the fire that destroyed much of the 18th Century House. The mirrored floor was installed by artists Langlands and Bell for our Contemporary Visual Arts Programme in 2004 – it’s one of the only CVA installations that remains at Mount Stuart.
In the gardens set out along the 45 Avenue – a walk for the ambitious and the perfect way to take in the atmosphere of our grounds.
January 20 – February 18
Ganymede, the cup bearer to the Gods and considered the most beautiful mortal, is depicted in the Aquarius window with Piscis Austrilis, the Southern Fish and Grus, the Crane; both constellations in the Southern Hemisphere. Fomalhaut, the largest star on the fish’s forehead, is 22 lightyears from earth and 13 times brighter than the sun.
Aquarians are analytical and assertive so the Dining Room with the portraits of the Bute Family to challenge you is a great place to start your exploration of Mount Stuart.
Observe the goings on in our grounds from the Glasshouse in the Kitchen Garden, added in 1989, it’s full of unique and interesting plants to pique your interest.
February 19 – March 20
Aphrodite, who was born in the ocean, appears again in this window with the fish representing Pisces. In the top corner you can see the arm of Typhon, surrounded with fire, a titan and the most deadly monster in all of Greek mythology. The Whale, Cetus, whose head is in the Aries window, has the star Mira in his tail. This star is a variable star which means its light swells and shrinks, sometimes rivalling Sirius in its brightness.
Pisceans are creative so the Drawing Room full of wonderful works of art is the perfect place for you to explore your creative side among masterpieces collected by the 3rd Earl of Bute. The ceiling depicts a heraldic family tree of the Bute family, backed by shiny polished mica. While the extravagant fireplace has been moved between the Drawing Room and the Wee Garden and back depending on the taste of the current Marchioness at the time!
The Wee Garden is the place in the grounds tailor made for you to explore your romantic side. Wend your way through the garden enjoying the plants from the southern hemisphere which flourish in Bute’s mild climate. Keep your eyes peeled for the sundial which forms the charming centrepiece of the Wee Garden.
The 6th Marquess of Bute and his daughter, Sophie, the Trust Chair are both Pisces – and they share a birthday!