Lord Dumfries’ Study. Stepping into the study you find a plainer simpler room, a room designed to work from, without the finery and detail seen elsewhere.
The degree of economy in room design, indicated by the plain ceiling and fireplace, reflects the privacy of the study where the man of the house would conduct his business and also dress.
The handsome mahogany Chippendale writing desk, supplied in 1759 for £22, takes centre stage. Incorporated into this was the latest in design and finishing, topped with the best leather and complete with useful gadgets, such as the extendable writing surface for standing use and the many secret compartments for private possessions and paperwork.
Upon the desk there rests the third edition (1762) of Chippendale’s ‘The Gentleman and the cabinet maker’s Director’, an elaborate brochure of his company’s product range, which includes a technical drawing of the desk illustrating the pop-out writing surface. This is recognised now as one of the first examples of global branding, and resulted in launching Thomas Chippendale to world fame. He was popular with European nobility, mostly notably Catherine the Great and Louis XVI, who both owned French editions of his Director. Interestingly Chippendale was a Yorkshireman who having established himself in London was first discovered in Scotland.
Originally ‘My Lord’s Dressing Room’, the study would have also been a place of rest and was furnished with a single bed for the 5th Earl’s use, with access to a separate shower room, installed by the 3rd Marquess of Bute.
Wedgwood jasperware copies of the Portland vase rests on the fireplace mantelpiece between two famillie verte porcelain buddhistic lions, reflecting the 3rd Marquess’ appetite for exotic influence and public image as a man of broad knowledge.
On the opposite wall stands a Chippendale style mahogany bookcase (not made by Chippendale himself) which contains a collection of ‘Mauchline Ware’ that has been donated to the Trust. On top of the bookcase sits a bust of Apollo, attributed as being the ‘Bacchus’ acquired in London by the 5th Earl in 1756.
The Earl’s portrait hangs between the windows, and above hangs a portrait in pastel of the 1st Marquess of Bute as a young man, by Swiss painter Jean-Etienne Liotard.