Probably John and James Adam, 1757-1763; interior work by Robert Adam, circa 1773; NE wing (picture gallery and library) by Robert Reid, 1811-14; later additions and alterations. Symmetrical, 2-storey with basement, 7-bay Palladian mansion recessed at centre with giant order pedimented portico to front; pedimented projection at rear; concave screen walls linking 2-storey, U-plan service wings forming courtyard to front; further outbuildings to outer left and right enclosing further service courtyards; later 2-storey, 11-bay block to NE. PRINCIPAL BLOCK: pink sandstone ashlar to front; coursed, droved pink sandstone to sides and rear; sandstone ashlar dressings. Stepped base; full entablature beneath eaves to front with alternate triglyphs and metopes; overhanging corniced eaves throughout with decorative mutules and carved panels set between. Corniced, architraved margins at ground (shouldered and pedimented at centre); architraved margins at 1st floor (shouldered at centre); projecting cills. NE WING: coursed, droved pink sandstone to principal elevations; tooled rubble sandstone at rear; sandstone ashlar dressings. Stepped base; cill course at ground; corniced eaves; plain parapet. KITCHEN WING AND STABLE WING: broached and coursed pink sandstone to principal elevations; coursed, droved sandstone rubble to SE and rear; sandstone ashlar dressings. Base courses; corniced eaves; plain margins (architraved to NW); projecting cills. OUTBUILDINGS: predominantly tooled sandstone rubble; coursed sandstone to NW elevations; sandstone ashlar dressings. Base courses; corniced eaves in part; plain margins (architraved to NW); projecting cills.
NW (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: principal block comprising 3 bays recessed at centre with stair accessing ground floor; projecting portico to front with giant order columns; surmounting pediment. Corniced doorpiece centred at ground within; timber panelled door; 8-pane fanlight; flanking pedimented windows; squat windows aligned above. Squat basement windows at ground in remaining bays to right and left; single windows at ground; squat windows aligned at 1st floor. Flanking single storey, 3-bay concave screen passage walls with timber doors in round-arched central openings; flanking single windows; surmounting balustraded parapets with squat, ball-finialled piers. 2-storey, 4-bay kitchen wing with pedimented entrance to 5-bay inner elevation projecting to right; courtyard walls and ball-finialled gatepiers adjoined to right linking regularly fenestrated, 2-storey, 2-bay pedimented outbuilding ('The Apple House') to right with single storey, 3-bay addition recessed to outer right. 2-storey, 4-bay stable wing with pedimented entrance to 5-bay inner elevation projecting to left; courtyard walls and ball-finialled gatepiers adjoined to left linking regularly fenestrated, 2-storey, 2-bay pedimented outbuilding to outer left.
NE (SIDE) ELEVATION: regularly fenestrated 4-bay principal block recessed to left; projecting 2-storey, 2-bay wing (picture gallery and library) off-set to right of centre with 2-leaf timber door at ground off-set to right; single window to left; painted imitation windows aligned above. Single storey outbuilding projecting to right with single window off-set to left of centre; service courtyard and stable wing set behind.
SE (REAR) ELEVATION: 7-bay principal block comprising 3-bay pedimented projection at centre with squat basement windows; pedimented windows aligned at ground (segmental-arched pediment at centre); single windows at 1st floor; bullseye window centred in surmounting pediment. Squat basement windows in remaining bays to left and right; corniced windows aligned at ground; single windows at 1st floor. Curved screen wall recessed to left with square-headed doorway centred in lean-to projection at ground. Regularly fenestrated, 2-storey, 4-bay kitchen wing adjoined to left; blind elevation to single storey, mono-pitched range enclosing courtyard to left with lean-to projection to right; 2-storey, 2-bay pedimented outbuilding ('The Apple House') to outer left. 2-storey, 11-bay range (picture gallery and library) recessed to right of principal block with 2-bay block to outer left; symmetrical range to right grouped 2-1-3-1-2 comprising tall, 5-bay projection at centre with single windows at basement and ground in 3 central bays; slightly advanced flanking bays with single windows at basement; blank, round-arched niches above; full-width blank parapet; single windows in lower, 2-bay wings recessed to left and right.
SW (SIDE) ELEVATION: 4-bay principal block recessed to right with basement windows to outer right and off-set to left of centre; lean-to porch off-set to right; regularly fenestrated at ground and 1st floor. Curved screen wall adjoined to outer left linking service range projecting to outer left comprising 2-storey, 6-bay outbuilding ('The Apple House') to front with single storey, 2-bay piended addition at centre; service courtyard and kitchen wing set behind.
6-, 8- and 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows (painted imitation glazing in part); rooflights. Platformed grey slate piended roof to principal block; grey slate pitched and piended roofs to remaining blocks. Corniced sandstone stacks; circular cans.
INTERIOR: outstanding classical decorative schemes in place. Main stair off near square-plan entrance hall circa 1760 with flat plasterwork panels centred in each wall in lugged frames with egg-and-dart carving; flanking panelled doors. Chimney-breast with decorative rococo plasterwork by George Morrison; fireplace; original brass hexagonal light fitting.. Drawing room with decorative plasterwork ceiling probably by Robert and James Adam, circa 1773; shallow wall panels divided by slender panels with colour-printed French wallpaper, circa 1795; plain chimney-breast; fireplace; giltwood mirrors above half-moon tables by Thomas Chippendale; panelled doors; curtain pelmets and gilt work probably by Wright & Mansfield, circa 1880. Dining room with decorative plasterwork ceiling and walls probably by Robert and James Adam, circa 1773; shallow, slender wall panels with decorative oak leaves and acorns; decorative plasterwork on chimney-breast; fireplace; panelled doors; various pieces of Chippendale furniture. Morning Room with dado panelling; marble fireplace. Spiral service stair connecting all floors with stone treads, plain uprights, timber handrail. Bedrooms with decorative cornices; plain ceilings; panelled doors; Chippendale furniture including 4-poster bed decorated with roses and other flowers. Bathroom with clay floor tiles; high domed ceiling. Principal bedroom (former library) with decorative cornice; plain ceiling; fireplace; Chippendale four-poster bed. Main stair off hall connecting public room and bedrooms with decorative plasterwork wall panels by George Morrison. Dog-leg stair with timber treads; decorative wrought-iron banister rail with open network of curvilinear steel bars and ball finials at intersections; timber handrail. Library (Robert Reid circa 1811) with apsed ends; fireplace; timber book cases; plain cornices. Large picture gallery (Robert Reid, circa 1811; further decorated by Bonnar & Carfrae, 1872) with classical screens dividing apsed ends (marbled columns and pilasters); central shallow-domed, compartmental ceiling; marble fireplace; low, decorative dado; panelled doors; furniture by William Trotter.
Statement of Special Interest
Paxton House Estate A Group comprises 'Boundary Walls, Railings & Gatepiers', 'Bridge', 'Dene Cottage', 'The Dower House', 'Entrance comprising South Lodge, East Lodge, Quadrant Walls, Piers & Entrance Screen', 'Garden Cottage', 'Ice House', 'North Lodge & West Lodge', 'Paxton House', 'Walled Garden' - see separate list entries. Built for Patrick Home of Billie under the supervision of James Nisbet, master mason, Paxton House is one of Scotland's finest examples of neo-Palladian architecture, and as such, a fine example of the work of the Adam brothers, deriving influence from Colen Campbell's VITRUVIUS BRITANNICUS (1715) and Isaac Ware's COMPLETE BODY OF ARCHITECTURE (1756) - both of which were owned by John Adam. Campbell's design for Shawfield Park, Glasgow and Ware's unexecuted design for James Murray of Broughton at Cally, Gatehouse of Fleet, Girthon Parish (by Robert Mylne), were obvious starting points for Paxton's rear and front elevations respectively. Ware described his design as '...an elegant and useful house; modern in design and moderate in the expense' - qualities required by Patrick Home the following year. As well as being an outstanding piece of Palladianism from the outside, Paxton is also notable for its interiors, with good examples of both 1760s austerity (entrance hall) and later, lighter work thought to be by Robert Adam (drawing and dining rooms). Furthermore, the majority of rooms are furnished with important pieces of furniture by Chippendale. Robert Reid's picture gallery and library wing, commissioned by Paxton's then owner George Home, also has a fine, rather more severe interior - the gallery being particularly impressive as it is the largest private gallery of any country house in Scotland and is hung with paintings from the National Gallery of Scotland. The house is now owned by the Paxton Trust and is open to the public (1999). The former outbuilding to the SW is now a private residence called 'The Apple House' (1999).