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Rosehall House

Country House (19th Century)

Site Name Rosehall House

Classification Country House (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Rosehall House Policies

Canmore ID 100580

Site Number NC40SE 23

NGR NC 47487 01585

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/100580

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Creich (Sutherland)
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NC40SE 23.00 47487 01585

NC40SE 23.01 NC 47566 01533 Walled Garden

Architecture Notes

ARCHITECT: Alexander Ross (I.A. Sept 10, 1873) Improvements

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Site Management (4 June 1990)

Symmetrical 2-storey 7-bay classical mansion with projecting 2-storey and single storey rear wings forming shallow U-plan, partly infilled with later servant's passage additions. Unique notable late 1920s interior scheme designed by Coco Chanel. Coursed grey and pink freestone with honey-coloured Moray sandstone dressings. Ribbon pointing. Deep eaves. In poor repair (2006). Predominantly 16- and 24-pane timber sash and case windows. Corniced end, lateral and ridge stacks. Slate roofs.

A good example of a simple classical mansion house with a unique interior scheme by the internationally renowned fashion designer Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel (1883-1971).

Rosehall was built for Richard Dunning, 2nd Lord Ashburton (1782-1823). He bought Rosehall Estate in 1806 and the house burnt down in May 1817. It was replaced with this classical house which Beaton notes is in the style of William Robertson. Ashburton linked Rosehall with the River Oykel by a no longer extant canal and used it to ship the Moray stone for the dressings. It is likely that the present Rosehall incorporates some fabric from the former house, such as the West wing with its barrel vaulted ceiling. The work undertaken by Ross in 1873 probably included adding further servants' quarters parallel to the rear of the house. The previous list description notes that there are underground passages below the house, with entrances in the retaining walls, to accommodate a footpath which formerly passed in front of the South elevation.

Rosehall was acquired by Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster (1879-1953), in the late 1920s. At this time, Chanel was his mistress. Although he only owned Rosehall for a very short time (possibly as few as 2 years) the interior was not to Chanel's liking and she redecorated it in her celebrated chic style. The striking simplicity, with shades of beige and basic replacement chimneypieces in painted timber, would have been significantly radical for its time. This is the only known house in Scotland with an interior by Chanel and its survival is remarkable. Beige was a colour which Chanel frequently used in her interiors, such as her office door at the famous Rue Cambon Chanel showrooms in Paris and the sofa in her apartment on the second floor. Local knowledge had suggested that the house contained the first bidet in Scotland, installed as part of Chanel's scheme, however this seems unlikely as bidet's were being manufactured in Scotland from the early 1900s. This particular model appears to feature in Shank's 1912 catalogue, albeit produced for the French market.

The house has been uninhabited since 1967 and is now (2006) in poor condition with extensive dry rot. Much of the beige wallpaper is peeling away from the wall. (HIstoric Scotland)

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