Drawing of north front by Isaac Miller, c.1677
Symbolised as a grand, turreted structure
on Timothy Pont's late 16th-century map of Clydesdale, 'The Orchard'
re-emerged phoenix-like from a series of destructive military episodes
to be rebuilt in the last two decades in substantial style and on
a fashionable quadrangular or 'palace' plan. Some of the results
of the 16th-century rebuilding and enlargement are shown here in
this drawing of the main north front, the earliest surviving detailed
depiction of the palace. It is accompanied by an elevation
of the church, and a ground plan of the palace which sets out
the four-square layout of the main court and service court ('back
close') which stood to the west (right). All were drawn by one Isaac
Miller in about 1677.
As shown here, the general appearance of the building
corresponds closely with that shown in an engraving
of 1807: a long, three-storeyed and five-bayed main block is
symmetrically disposed around a central entrance and is flanked
by four-storeyed square towers at each end, this view being slightly
distorted to show the inner and outer wall faces of each tower.
As in the 1807 engraving, the towers have small conical or pyramidal
roofs, inset behind balustraded parapets, though here the lateral
chimney-stacks of the main block have rather more emphasis and decoration
and the upper-floor windows are pedimented dormers. Emphasis is
given to a balcony-cum-colonnaded porch around the entrance, possibly
a representation of that shown in the 1807 view, but again slightly
distorted to show the sides as well as the front. The drawing is
fascinatingly clear about the windows which are uniformly half-glazed
and half-shuttered throughout, with diamond-paned and leaded glass
in the upper halves and casement-hung timber shutters in the lower,
below the transoms (horizontal mid-frames).
Little is known of Isaac Miller, the draughtsman
who produced this important series of early drawings of Hamilton
Palace and Church. He is thought to have been a carpenter and may
possibly have been of the celebrated family of Quakers of this name
who were employed as gardeners by the 3rd
Duke and Duchess of Hamilton.