The Pink Dining Room. A favourite of HRH The Prince of Wales, it is the best preserved room of the house, with the least alterations made since its inception.
The original contents have largely survived, with an unusually complete set of documentation, establishing provenance and proving authenticity. Furnished with what were only the best names and most expensive cutting-edge tastes and designs, the room stands as a testament to the 5th Earl’s desire to dazzle and impress.
The distinctive pink wall colour though was not added until 1955 (by the widow of the 5th Marquess of Bute).
The expertly carved door cornices and stucco frieze, more elaborate even than Adam’s original drawings for the room, indicate the hand of an accomplished craftsman, whose identity is sadly unknown. The exotic fruits and vegetables suggest a wealthy and well-travelled house owner.
The rococo style ornate ceiling, which verges into the neoclassical, takes inspiration directly from the ruins of Palmyra in Syria. The design was copied from Robert Wood’s influential drawings of the ancient Roman city in ‘The Ruins of Palmyra’, published in 1753. Being one of the first systematic publications of ancient buildings, the drawings had great influence on neoclassical architecture, and not least of all Robert Adam, who most likely suggested the designs as a fashionably contemporary incorporation. The inspiration for the design of the marble chimney-piece, carved by George Mercer, can be traced to English architect and translator of Andrea Palladio’s works, Isaac Ware and his 1731 publication, ‘Designs of Inigo Jones and Others’. Inigo Jones being an influential early 17th century English architect; the first to introduce the classical architecture of Rome and the Italian Renaissance to Britain.
The spectacular pink Murano Glass chandelier hanging from the ceiling, dating from ca.1760, was found in pieces in the basement of Dumfries House in 2007. The Dumfries House Trust sent the chandelier to a glass workshop in Kent where it was carefully cleaned and restored. Fortunately, almost all the individual parts survived and the chandelier could be reassembled with remarkably only one piece needing replacement. The chandelier consists of 18 arms of hand-blown glass complete with delicate floral ornaments and it weighs a total of 35kg.