Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Scotland 2019 9: Thirlestane Castle

After three days exploring the Scottish Borders it was time to move on to our next destination: Fife.  Looking at the map it was clear that the scenic route towards Edinburgh would take us past Thirlestane Castle, so we decided to pay it a visit.  Thirlestane is the home of the Earls and Duke of Lauderdale, and has been in the hands of the Maitland family since 1590.  A large baronial pile built from red sandstone, it looked very impressive in its own grounds.  The fact that some of those grounds are now given over to a Caravan Park is a bit of a shame, but I guess it's better than selling the family silver or a series of Old Masters...



The interior was spacious and grand (in stark contrast to Traquair) with the obligatory billiard room, library, ornate bedrooms and the like.

The dining room was probably the grandest of all, with an ornate ceiling plus paintings of both family and royalty.  It also included a disembodied sheep's head on the table; and, being on wheels, it was clearly more than simple "decoration".  A holder for a Port bottle, perhaps?

Probably the most astonishing thing we found at Thirlestane was tucked away on a shelf in a display cabinet.  The custodian very kindly allowed me to move it to a location with better light so that I could photograph it for posterity.  The item in question is a plaque which was presumably given as a prize to Viscount Maitland by Cambridge & District Photographic Club (now Cambridge Camera Club) in 1906.  This was only four years after the club was founded, but how it came to be presented remains a mystery.  The custodian, who knew the family history well, wasn't able to explain why the Viscount would have been in Cambridge at this time.  He didn't study at the University, as far as anyone knows, so perhaps his army regiment was stationed near the town?  However it came into his possession, it was still good to see a small part of the club's heritage so well looked after.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely Castle Ian and some cracking images too. Amazing to find a plaque from your photographic club.