Ground plan showing proposed alterations and additions,
Rebuilt and enlarged in the late 16th century,
Hamilton Palace, underwent a further major redesign between 1684
and 1701 at the hands of the 3rd Duke
(1634-94) and Duchess Anne (1632-1716).
Dubbed by the family as 'The Great Design', these extensive works
nonetheless left the exterior of the old north front of the main
block much as it had been before. Under the 5th
Duke of Hamilton (1703-43), while the architect William Adam
(1689-1748) was engaged mainly in the design and supervision of
building at Ch‚telherault, the grand ducal 'dog kennel' in the High
Parks, he was also commissioned by the duke to survey the palace
and to present proposals which involved an enhancement of the old
north front and a remodelling of the layout.
This drawing, part of a series by William Adam
which were engraved and eventually published in 1812 under the title
of Vitruvius Scoticus, shows the proposed
ground-floor layout which corresponds with the elevations
by Adam. The axis of the new design is formed by a twin-level
entrance halls entered, as then existing, at ground-floor level
from the south court (bottom) and at the piano nobile (first floor)
from the new northern entrance where the curved perron (staircase)
rises above this plan level. The drawing also clearly shows how
the south courtyard wings have been reduced in length from eight
bays to five, and extended laterally to correspond with the overall
length of the north front, creating in effect an overall triple
U- or triple courtyard layout.
Much of the collaboration between the 5th
Duke of Hamilton and William Adam focused on the building and
finishing of Châtelherault, though Adam is known to have supervised
the decoration of the Hamilton apartments at Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh,
in 1740, and of the east wing of Hamilton Palace itself in the 1740s
for the duke and his son, the 6th Duke (1724-58).