Alexander Ross, 1885-1887. Originally late 18th century, 2-storey, 3-bay house with block pediment central door; coursed rubble, end stacks; slate roof; substantial additions and alterations forming, 2-storey and attic, asymmetrical gabled house with porte cochere and square crenellated tower with views to Loch Portree and the Sound of Raasay. Circular caphouse to stair, rising 2 stages above roof, added to S gable (1885-1887). All rendered with ashlar dressings; long and short detailing to tower and windows.
NE (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: principal entrance at tower base under keyblocked elliptically arched porte cochere with channelled angle pilasters and balustrade.
SE (GARDEN) ELEVATION: asymmetrical S front with 2 canted bay windows at ground floor; transomed and mullioned stair light and tripartite window at 1st floor with shallow corbelled balustrade and iron railing. 1887 pedimented and chamfered doorpiece to original entrance; centre bay raised with wallhead gable; 2 piended dormers.
SW (GARDEN) ELEVATION: single storey C-shaped range (late 18th century), gabled roof, including kitchen and (former) byre, coal cellar, cart shed (later used as laundry) now converted to accommodation and office use. Single storey piended lean-to roof to late 19th century annex connection.
NW (SERVICES) ELEVATION: as at SW, with entrance to kitchen block via annex connection.
Slate roof. Predominantly single-pane and 6 over 6 casement windows. Multiple stacks, some with decorative clay cans. Cast iron hoppers and downpipes.
INTERIOR: fine late 19th century decorative interior incorporating high quality ornate carved fireplace to entrance hall dated 1887; stairs, panelling and doors of 1887 in situ. Original stairs to 18th century house with some alterations at 1st floor level to accommodate attic stairwell. Encaustic tiles to vestibule. Original room layout largely intact. Some decorative stone fire surrounds. Decorative cornice to most rooms. Radiators with metal-grill and timber covers. Late 1880s service bells extant in kitchen block annex. Late 1880s sanitary ware extant to toilet at ground and first floor.
OUTBUILDING: (NG 147595 843080) Alexander Ross, 1887. 2-storey, 4-bay, rectangular-plan, random rubble outbuilding comprising former coach houses, stables, hayloft, doocot, gunroom and kennels. Gabled slate roof with two stacks. Former kennels to rear elevation at W. Lantern to S gable end. 4 boxed dormers to E. Some non-traditional windows, with openings of varying size. Interiors modernised.
Statement of Special Interest
Viewfield House is a good example of a substantial late 19th century villa with earlier origins which has a number of distinctive architectural features including a fine interior and distinctive tower. Located within a rural island setting and contained within its own grounds, Viewfield House has views of Loch Portree and the Sound of Raasay.
Viewfield House was originally commissioned by Lord MacDonald of Sleat, and is thought to have been for the chamberlain or factor of his estates who was responsible for the collection of rents and other monies owing to the MacDonalds. The earlier house appears in Daniel's print of 1819 as Corta n Creag.
Alexander Ross's extension transformed this modest late 18th century classical house into a grand villa for Harry MacDonald who had made his fortune planting indigo in India. He was the grandson of
Dr Alexander Macleod, who in turn was grandson of Donald Macleod of Berneray (the 'Old Trojan'). Dr Macleod was a surgeon, engineer and land improver. He moved to Skye from the Western Isles, and established Viewfield House in Portree, where he was the doctor for Strath, Sleat and Knoydart.
Alexander Ross was born in Angus in 1834 and was the son of James Ross, architect. In 1838 the family moved to Inverness, and Alexander was made assistant before taking over his father's practice at the early age of 19 when he died in 1853. Ross's contribution to Highland architecture is significant and his legacy lives on in a large number of buildings in the north of Scotland. Ross went into partnership several times throughout his career, and by the 1890s his practice had grown considerably, particularly with the design of new schools and schoolhouses as a result of the 1872 Education (Scotland) Act, which made education compulsory for children age 5-13. In 1907 he took his son John Alistair Ross into practice. Ross retired in 1923, however he remained active until he died on 19 May 1925 at the age of ninety.
List description and statutory address updated 2013.