The Entrance Hall.
The Entrance Hall is clearly influenced by the interior design of Palladio’s villas in Veneto, Italy.
Guests arriving at the House would be left in no doubt as to the status, lineage and personality of the 5th Earl of Dumfries, when met by the clear messages incorporated into the decoration of the Hall.
The thistle motif of the Knight of the Order of the Thistle which the Earl attained in 1752, is displayed alongside the figure of the wyvern (a dragon like creature) taken from the Crichton family crest from his mother’s side. Furthermore, the family motto ‘God Send Grace’ is painted on the horizontally swirling ribbon, flanked by the lion rampant.
These motifs are repeated on the backs of the Scottish wright Alexander Peter’s hall chairs, which also bear the Order of the Thistle’s motto ‘Nemo me impune lacessit’ (no one provokes me with impunity).
The Earl’s own coat of arms is set within the collar of this motif capped with the Earl’s coronet. There are also hounds depicted flanking a fox’s mask to represent the hunt, one of the Earl’s favourite pursuits.
The two cartouches in the west and east coves of the Entrance Hall have romanticised depictions of the ancestral Crichton properties, Sanquar Castle and Leifnorris respectively.
The Hall would have originally been white. However, in the late 19th century the 3rd Marquess of Bute commissioned the Glasgow based decorators, Campbell & Smith, to add colour and gilding to the ceiling. The Dumfries House Trust chose to reduce the gilding and return to the stone and dark grey colours more in keeping with 18th century design.
The original furniture set-up is still in situ today, with the eight hall chairs, central table, and two arm chairs - all by Alexander Peter. The room includes a newly restored Francis Brodie table of an eagle design (which predates the house, ca.1730-40, and was most likely originally supplied to Leifnorris), as well as one of two Chippendale lanterns.