Nothing is more poignant than the ruination of a once-grand house -except, perhaps, the photographs which today represent the only surviving evidence that such a property ever existed. Since 1945, it has been estimated that over 200 major houses have been lost in Scotland, amongst them some of its grandest works of architecture, like Hamilton Palace. The reasons for the losses were many: fire, dry rot, mining subsidence, or simply demolition when the cost of a stately home's upkeep became prohibitive. The architectural styles that fell victim to such destruction were similarly varied -from Scotch Baronial, typified by a house like Craigends, to a Palladian villa like Amisfield in East Lothian, or vast nineteenth-century Mixed Gothic properties like Perthshire's Abercairney and Millearne. Even some of the finest work by one of Scotland's greatest architects, Robert Adam, is gone forever with the loss of house like Mavisbank and Balbardie. But fortunately photographs remain, as a remarkably varied, often eerie record of these great lost houses.
The lavish photographic content in Scotland's Lost Houses derives primarily from the archive of the National Monuments Record in Edinburgh, but also draws on Country Life's photographs, local archives, even the remarkable albums taken by a Perthshire demolition contractor in the '50s as he sought to memorialise his handiwork in dynamiting country houses. In this beautifully produced book, Ian Gow, the most distinguished authority on Scotland's historic houses, selects twenty of the country's most important lost houses, prefacing these with a comprehensive introductory survey of the whole era of destruction. For anyone who mourns the impoverishment of Scotland's architectural heritage by such large-scale post-war destruction, it will be a plangent and nostalgic experience.
Buy Scotland's Lost Houses book by Ian Gow from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(305mm x 247mm x 18mm)
Aurum Press Ltd
Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd
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Author Biography - Ian Gow
Ian Gow was appointed Curator of the National Trust for Scotland in February 1998. he was born and brought up in Edinburgh and educated at George Heriot's School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read History of Art. After a brief spell at the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments in London, he returned in 1979 to the National Monuments Record of Scotland as Curator of the Architectural Colelctions. He is an Honorary Fellow and Honorary Curator of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland and an Honorary Fellow of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland. He has written extensively on the decorative arts and architecture of Scotland and is the author of The Scottish Interior, Scotland's Lost Houses and Scottish Houses and Gardens from the Archives of Country Life (all published by Aurum), in addition to many guide books, including that on the Palace of Holyroodhouse.