James Smith, 1686, Classical 7-bay, 2-storey and basement house, with interior work by William Adam, circa 1720; 3-bay outer pavilions, linking bays and further interior alterations, probably also William
Adam, from 1720. Natural harl, render and lining; ashlar dressings; chamfered reveals; quoins to original house, simple ashlar dressings to pavilions. Base course and moulded cornice.
SW ELEVATION: 3 centre bays advanced and breaking eaves in astylar pedimented centrepiece; distyle in antis Doric porch to basement at centre, keystoned and with decorated entablature; 2-leaf doors; double stair above with decorative wrought-iron balustrade and monogram, circa 1720. Principal doorway, James Smith, pedimented with fluted, tapering pilasters and lintel inscription "Laudo Manentem"; tympanum relief, circa 1720; 2-leaf panelled doors. Regular fenestration to each bay at each floor, partly obscured by stair at basement. Oculus in main pediment and apex stack; flanking urns removed. 2-bays with regular fenestration flanking each side. Linking bays slightly recessed, each
with door at ground and window to floors above. 3-bay pavilions, from 1720, advanced, with windows to principal and 1st floor on return elevations towards centre; windows to each floor to SW, those of right
NE ELEVATION: detailed as SW elevation but without double stair and with only 1 doorway; simple flight of steps to pedimented doorway at centre, "Sapienter Uti" inscribed on lintel and profile relief in tympanum.
Regular fenestration across elevation to each floor; no basement windows and blinded windows to principal and 1st floor in pavilion to left.
SE ELEVATION: 5-bay on higher ground, obscuring basement; round arched windows with shell keystones and impost capitals, centre window lengthened as door with wall mounted sundial above. Blank rectangular ashlar tablets above each window. Small bull's-eye ventilation opening at ground.
NW ELEVATION: 2-bay with basement recess; 2 windows to principal floor detailed as those of SE elevation with moulded surround; 2 rectangular 1st floor windows; broad pilaster strips to outer angles. 12-pane glazing pattern to sash and case windows, with 4-pane to majority of principal floor windows to front and rear; radial and Y-traceried patterns in round arched windows of end elevations. Grey slate peind and platform roofs; lead flashings. Panelled and corniced stacks, paired on load bearing walls by centre.
INTERIOR: outstanding. Enfilade arrangement of rooms. Vaulted kitchen in basement. James Smith interiors largely retained including stairwell, Chinese Room, Alcove Bedroom, Ante-room to Library. Oval stairwell with cantilevered stone and timber stair; fine wrought- iron balustrade, William Aitken. Basket-arched marble chimneypiece to Chinese Room, built-in bookcases, lugged door surrounds. Paintwork in principal rooms by James Norie, 1739, retained and landscape mural
paintings. Gilding to details carved by William Adam with exuberant plasterwork by Thomas Clayton and Samuel Calderwood. Dining room including Dalrymple family portraits by Alan Ramsay and Raeburn; Ionic screen.
Classical marble chimneypieces, Henry Cheere of Westminster, 1739, in Dining room and Library. Library lined with bookcases; landscapes of Hailes and Tantallon by John Thomson of Duddingston, early 19th century.
Chinese wallpaper to boudoir on principal floor; William Flockhart-like paper to Alcove Bedroom. Terraces to SW and NE elevations; underground tunnel in terrace to NW of house, to shield view of servants, with
small sunk court and outhouses, circa 1840.
GATEPIERS: pair of ashlar gatepiers opening D-plan forecourt by main elevation, Burlingtonian in style; rusticated with rock-faced quoins and pedimented caps. Cast-iron railings linking piers with diminutive outer
piers, rock-faced, rusticated and with ball finials.
Statement of Special Interest
James Smith built Whitehill for himself, but sold it in 1702 to Lord Bellenden. In 1709 it was purchased by Sir David Dalrymple, owner of the Hailes Estate, who renamed the house. Together with his son, James, he was responsible for the additions planned before his death in 1721; as William Adam worked on the interior refurbishment, it seems possible that he was the architect of the pavilions. An elevation with plans by
James Smith, very similar to Newhailes before the additions, shows a 7-bay house, and it seems probably that the 9th bays came simultaneously with the pavilions as linking bays. The survival of the interior decoration is exceptional. The National Library of Scotland presently (1989) hold the magnificent collection of books amassed by Lord Hailes, for which the library was constructed. The Stables, Lodge and piers, Obelisk, Shell Grotto, Gardener's Cottage and Dovecot are listed separately.