Newhailes was built in 1686 by James Smith, and originally known as Whitehill. The property was bought by Sir David Dalrymple, in 1709-10, who started the improvements which were continued by his son James.
The Library wing was built between 1718 and 1722, to the east of the Smith house. The Library was balanced by the construction of the new Dining Room and state apartment wing which began in about 1728 and ended in the 1740s.
It was a feature on Newhailes in Country Life magazine that led to me being commissioned to carry out the paint analysis of a number of the interiors. The article had referred to the original paint having been bought from a London colourman, Joseph Emerton, in 1742 and the bill survives –
It will be seen above that the first item was 6 pounds of Fine Green at 4 shillings per pound. When one considers that one of the everyday Common Colours was charged at 4 or 5 pence per pound it can be seen that this was incredibly expensive and clearly very special.
Coincidentally, I had made a study of this very same colourman when I was working on my thesis. A handbill from that time also survives -
Dining Room – The cross sections from the 1873 windows showed only one scheme. NB The blue pigment French ultramarine was introduced in the early 19th century and therefore could not date from the original 1742 decoration.
An interesting detail found in the Library was the fact that the textured paint around the chimneypiece had been gilded originally. This use of gilding on a textured surface has also been found at Stowe, where the frieze in the Dining Room had been given the same treatment.
I also carried out the paint analysis of many of the external elements.
As well as carrying out extensive analysis of the interior and exterior at Newhailes, a full colour survey was also carried out.
Dr Joe Rock has been carrying out further research on Newhailes and this can be seen on his website. A copy of my report on the decoration of the interior has been posted on his site.
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