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Field Visit

Date October 1988

Event ID 1083051

Category Recording

Type Field Visit


The seat of the Campbell Dukes of Argyll occupies an artificially terraced position above the W bank of the River Aray, about 300m from the NW shore of Loch Fyne and 80mSW of the site of the old castle (No. 132). Like the old one it was set on the line of the SW lime avenue (see No.l85) and its siting in the forecourt of the old building was evidently controlled by the wish to retain the early 18th-century pavilions there for as long as possible.


Rebuilding on the old site, or on a new one to the N, was considered from the 1660s onwards, and Vanbrugh about 1720 produced a scheme for a small square court yard building with four angle-towers possibly intended for Inveraray, which appears to have influenced the design of the present building. A Gothick design by Roger Morris was chosen in 1744 by Archibald, 3rd Duke of Argyll, in preference to a military design by Dugald Campbell and Palladian alternative schemes, and work began in 1745 with William Adam as superintending architect. Following his death in 1748, and that of Morris a year later, Adam's son John assumed responsibility for completing and fitting up the building until the 3rd Duke's death in 1761. Major works resumed after the succession of John, 5th Duke,in 1770, with the decision to move the principal entrance from the SW to the NE front, under the supervision of William Mylne, and the elaborate decoration of the state rooms by his brother Robert Mylne between 1772 and 1789. Plans for several alterations were commissioned in 1806 by George, 6thDuke, from Joseph Bonomi, his architect at Rosneath, but the only significant one carried out was the alteration of the basement stairs. Thereafter the castle was altered little, despite an ambitious baronial project of the early 1870s by Anthony Salvin for George, 8th Duke, until the same architect directed repairs, including the addition of a new upper floor, following a disastrous fire of 1877. The building was extensively renovated in the 1950s by Ian G Lindsay and Partners for Ian,11th Duke of Argyll, and the same firm, under the direction of Crichton Lang, repaired the building for Ian, 12th and present Duke, after a second major fire in 1975.The castle has been the subject of a major architectural and historical monograph by the late Ian G Lindsay and Mary Cosh, based on the abundant documentary material and tourists' accounts, to which reference should be made in conjunction with the following description (en.1*).

RCAHMS 1992, visited October 1988

[see RCAHMS 1992, 370-399, for a full architectural description]

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