The Tapestry Room. A new addition by architect Robert Weir-Schultz, as part of the West Pavilion extension, and was commissioned by his friend and patron the 3rd Marquess of Bute. The room was completed by the 4th Marquess, eight years after his father’s untimely death in October 1900.
It was specifically designed to house four early 18th-century Flemish tapestries, acquired by the 5th Earl of Dumfries, two of which had previously hung in the Blue Drawing Room. The room is panelled with cedar wood, as a natural moth deterrent, helping to keep the tapestries free from damage.
The tapestries are attributed to Flemish tapestry designers, Augustin Coppens and Jan Van Orely, who both worked for the Leyniers-Reydams workshop at the time in Brussels. The tapestries depict scenes from Classical Roman mythology, including Minerva and the Arts, Bacchus with Apollo and his Muses, and Diana goddess of the hunt. They were fully restored and re-hung in 2015.
The room has a very high ceiling, and is naturally lit through eighteen domed skylights and a Palladian window, flanked by shell headed buffet-niches at the north end. The classical fluted columns, crowned with the typical set of four ionic volutes, form a screen at this north end. They support a frieze with carvings of vine leaves, putti (cherubs or cupids), birds and grapes. The wood was carved in the Bute family’s Cardiff workshops and shipped up to Ayrshire.
The marble fireplace has survived two house fires. It was originally installed at the 3rd Earl of Bute’s (grandfather to the 2nd Marquess of Bute, 7th Earl of Dumfries, and Prime Minister of Great Britain in the year 1762) Bedfordshire home, Luton Hoo (also a Robert Adam design of 1771), which burnt down in November 1843, and was then installed in a second house which also burnt down. Some damage from the fires is visible today on the mantelpiece. It is thought that the fireplace is one of five sourced for the 3rd Earl of Bute by the renowned Scottish art dealer James Byre (1733-1817).
Glazed cabinets stand either side of the fireplace, one of which contains a platinum-decorated Josiah Spode service set, ca.1800.
On the mantelshelf sits a garniture of five Chinese ‘Famille rose’ vases, dating from the Qianlong period (1736-95).
The grand piano was a donation to Dumfries House in 2009 by Cumnock Academy, a local comprehensive secondary school.