Closet and Cabinet

Mary Dudley (1586-1644), a cousin of Lucy, Countess of Bedford and friend of Lady Ann Clifford, married Alexander, 1st Earl of Home in 1605. Widowed in 1619, she continued to build and extend family townhouses in Edinburgh and London. She was a patron of Nicolas Stone, Isaac de Caus, and the Scottish mason William Wallace.…

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John Clerk and his Edinburgh retail show home, 1649.

London-made furniture was popular in Scotland. John Gilmour, a rising advocate who prospered and bought Craigmillar Castle at the Restoration, bought eight chairs in London in March 1636. John Campbell, younger laird of Glenorchy had a great bundle of chairs and seven bundles of chair frames shipped from London to Perth in 1657. The wills…

Three gold lockets in Edinburgh, 1600

  A reference from 1600 to lockets or ‘tablets’ can be found in Edinburgh’s ‘Register of Decreets’.[1] This is the record of a court convened by baillies and burgesses that dealt with debts. Anyone in the town, or anyone owed money by anyone from Edinburgh, could come to the baillies’ court, and obtain a ‘decreet’…

Physic and lace bonnets

Grace Mildmay's interest in physic has been described by Linda Pollock. Her daughter Mary Fane, Countess of Westmorland is rather less well-known, except for her letter to Secretary Windebank in May 1639 urging peace with Scotland, which has been published many times. Her eldest daughter Grace married James, Earl of Home in 1626, after the death of…

Inchkeith: The Island of Women

An English diplomat Thomas Randolph wrote that merry men joked that Inchkeith Island in the Forth, between Edinburgh and Fife, ought to be called the Isle des Femmes, because there were so many women on it. Usually called the Island of Horses, Mary of Guise, queen regent of Scotland preferred the name God’s Isle, and…

Buying timber for building in early seventeenth-century Scotland: from Sweden or on the shore of Leith.

Buying timber for building in early seventeenth-century Scotland: from Sweden or on the shore of Leith. Much timber for furniture and building was imported from Norway and Baltic sources and ports, as far east as Königsberg, now Kaliningrad in Russia.[1] Imported timber for Edinburgh and the Forth valley was stored and sold at the ‘Tymber…

Power of Women at Kinneil

Two rooms with wall paintings were discovered at Kinneil House, East Lothian, in 1936. These were the state rooms of the palace of James Hamilton Regent Arran and Duke of Chatelherault, dating perhaps from c.1550. The larger room has scenes from the parable of the Good Samaritan, and the smaller vaulted room has painted roundels…

Young aristocrats in Paris

Scottish aristocrats went to France to learn French conversation and the accomplishments of dancing, fencing and riding horses in manège in the Parisian riding academies. Meeting and making friends with French aristocrats was a bonus and tutors hoped their pupils would get an audience with the king and kiss his hand. Antoine de Pluvinel’s L’Instruction…