The Dalquharran Castle Chimneypiece.
A very rare, early Georgian, gently concave Portland Stone fireplace designed by Robert Adam and carved by the renowned Dutch stonemason Pieter Mathias van Gelder.
A moulded shelf rests above a simple frieze centred by a panel carved in relief with a floor standing globe flanked by opposing sphinxes. The endblocks, with carved lyres and husk swags, sit above fern frond corbels terminating in festooned bucrane on fielded panel jambs raised on stepped footblocks.
English, circa 1790.
Dalquharran Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland, is regarded as one of the finest examples of Robert Adam’s Castle Style. His castles were unique in the respect that whilst the outside embodied the robustness associated with a castle, the inside was the embodiment of his restrained and delicate classical style. Dalquharran Castle was created for Thomas Kennedy of Dunure but is sadly now a ruin after the roof was removed in 1967 to avoid paying rates.
The chimneypiece was originally installed in the round tower library of the Castle and epitomised Adam's classical elegance. The last image below shows it in situ in the ruins of the library. It is exceptionally rare to find such a piece and made even more remarkable as it survived virtually undamaged. There is a similarly fine chimneypiece at Seton Castle, Adam’s final project in Scotland.
Link to a section showing full range of similar/related neo-classical chimneypieces