© Country Life Picture Library
At the death of Duchess
Anne in 1716 and even by the 1730s, some of the interiors of
the late 17th-century 'Great Design' are known to have still remained
unfinished. It is likely that these were within the east wing which
was the last part to be erected and which was clearly the focus
of attention of the architect William Adam (1689-1748) and his stuccoist,
Thomas Clayton, when they came to be engaged by the 5th and 6th
Dukes of Hamilton (1703-43, 1724-58).
One of the series taken by the Country
Life photographer in 1919, this is a view of what is designated
the 'Duchess's Bedroom', the penultimate first-floor room situated
towards the south end of the east wing, marked simply as 'Bed Chamber'
and 'Bed Room' on the plans of c.1730
and 1921 respectively. It is a richly
sumptuous creation by William Adam and Thomas Clayton featuring
a white and gold stuccoed ceiling and plenishings centred upon a
handsome chimneypiece with open-pedimented overmantel. The painted
centrepiece of the overmantel is evidently a view of the River Thames,
while the portrait above the carved gilt bed is of the Misses Beckford
by the artist George Romney (1734-1802).
Throughout this suite of rooms the prevailing
colour scheme for the upholstery and carpet is blue and gold with
an underlying French theme made manifest in the fleur-de-lis pattern
of the carpet. The gilt chairs, which also appear in the view of
the Duchess's Boudoir, have again
been arranged and posed by the Country Life
photographer. The duchess in question is Duchess
Susan (1786-1859), who in 1810 married Alexander, later (in
1819) to become 10th Duke of Hamilton (1767-1852).
Born at Vevy in eastern France, she was daughter of the wealthy
and eccentric aesthete, William Beckford (1760-1844).