James Smith, 1702-11, incorporating parts of 15th century and 16th century castle; later additions by James Playfair, 1786, and William Burn, 1831. 3-storey and basement irregular U-plan Classical mansion, including 2-storey and basement pavilions, and with 2-storey service blocks adjoined to S forming U-plan service wing. Variegated sandstone rubble; ashlar dressings. Base course. Rusticated quoins. String courses between floors, and moulded eaves cornice to principal elevation. Moulded lugged architraves to principal elevation, raised surrounds to remaining elevations. Gibbsian surrounds to basement windows, many blinded. Some relieving arches. Formerly harled.
E (principal) elevation: 3-storey U-plan, with 5 bays at centre, and outer wings 3 bays deep returned to E; terminated by lower piend-roofed pavilions to outer bays to E; masterful massing with central emphasis, forming open court. Tall windows to principal floor, square windows to 2nd floor. Heavy pediment to 3-bay ashlar centrepiece, 4 fluted giant Corinthian pilasters dividing. Ashlar steps to entrance (reinstated by W Schomberg Scott, 1973), with simple wrought-iron balustrade. Tall 2-leaf panelled door with 8-pane fanlight at centre; modillioned cornice with ornately carved frieze and dentils. Regularly disposed fenestration. Panel bearing palm garlands, coronet and monogrammed shield above principal floor openings. Architraves corniced to principal and 1st floors. Entablature breaking eaves, crowned by projecting ornate modillioned and corniced pediment. Regularly disposed fenestration to slightly recessed bays flanking centrepiece.
Courtyard returns: door in outer bays to E, foreshortening window above. Regularly disposed fenestration.
Wings: regularly disposed fenestration to inner bay; remaining bays masked by pavilions. Porch set in re-entrant angle of wing and pavilion to left.
Porch: ashlar, with cornice, blocking course and pilasters. 2-leaf door to left to N, with moulded panel above; window to right. Window to E.
Pavilions: 2 bays deep; 3-bay to E. Regularly disposed
N pavilion: 2-bay to N; blind windows in bay to right. Advanced from N elevation; 4 closet windows to W return.
S pavilion: porch adjoined at ground in re-entrant angle to N. 2-bay to S; service block adjoined at ground.
N elevation: 9-bay (6-2-1); N pavilion advanced to left; outer bay to left 2-storey and basement. Bowed ashlar tripartite window (James Playfair, 1786) to principal and 1st floors in bay to centre and right of centre; keystoned splayed-arched arcade at basement; cill courses, cornice and blocking course. Corniced and pilastered tripartite former French window, now glazed with panelled aprons, to principal floor in 2 penultimate bays to right; ashlar forestair, extended across outer bay to right. Regularly disposed fenestration, blind windows in outer bay to right.
W elevation: 11-bay (2-2-2-2-3), 2 to left advanced. Regularly disposed fenestration, tall windows to principal floor, small to 2nd floor. Small corbelled turret with small window set in re-entrant angle to left at principal floor level; corniced, with leaded roof. 2 arrowslits (lighting former turnpike stair) to right of centre bay. 7 bays to centre and right incorporating substantial evidence of early masonry.
S elevation: 1830s addition of 2 2-storey piend-roofed service wings to form U-plan service court to elevation; sited on falling ground, and incorporating earlier fabric. Evidence of demolished fabric.
Main house: irregular disposition of bays and plan, owing to inclusion of fragments of earlier castle. 2 tall multi-pane stair windows, divided by ashlar stack with angle pilasters. Roughly canted bay to court, with roof swept down unevenly to 1st floor height with recessed dormers; evidence of former kitchen services at ground. S pavilion advanced to right.
Service wings: circa 1830. Cream sandstone rubble; rusticated quoins to E. W wing: 7-bay to W, bay to outer left canted in re-entrant angle; bay to left of centre recessed; Gibbsian surrounds and window bars; service lean-to to E, with stone piers. E wing: 5-bay to E, single storey flat-roofed contemporary projection at ground; bay advanced to left to S, with semicircular-arched voussoired entrance to recessed porch to right return.
Small-pane glazing patterns in sash and case windows, some multi-pane, some fixed pane and some double-glazed. Original lead rainwater goods; heads and fixtures decorated with coronets. Grey slates to piend, and piend and platform roofs; some swept eaves; lead flashing. Tall imposing corniced wallhead and ridge stacks with angle pilasters, some ashlar, some harled. Roof lights.
Interior: earlier castle incorporated internally, including vaulted ceilings and 2 turnpike staircases to S. Oak panelling, and black and white marble tessellated floor to entrance hall, with painted frieze, and to hall to grand staircase, divided by 2-bay marble basket-arched arcade, with Corinthian column and pilasters. Marble panelling to stair well. Wide half-turn stair with landings to S; delicate wrought-iron balustrade with birch handrail (late 18th century replacement); white marble steps, parquetry treads. Suite of 6 state rooms to W: great ante-chamber to S, morning-room, book-room, ante-room, Duchess's sitting-room, and boudoir in NW angle; variety of decoration including marble chimneypieces, overmantels and architraves, oak panelling, carved cornices, and gilt cornices and panel mouldings; red marble chimneypiece to Duchess's sitting-room, with carved white marble overmantel, "The Story of Neptune and Gallatea" by Grinling Gibbons, 1701, surmounted by blue glass panel with silver monogram and red marble border; elaborately garlanded white marble chimneypiece to boudoir, with painted mirror overmantel, surmounted by carved monogram. Library to N, with bookshelves by James Blaikie, 1769-70, and marble chimneypiece by Alex Govan, 1771. Ashlar chimneypiece with monogrammed overmantel to armoury. Brass door furniture by Oakes Bickford of London, 1704-05.
Retaining wall: flat coped rubble buttressed wall to SE of house.
Lamp standards: 2 elegant decorative cast-iron lamp standards flanking steps to E elevation. Decorative 19th century cast-iron lamp standards to SW drive, inscribed "Jas Ferguss, Tayport".
Statement of Special Interest
James Douglas, 1st Earl of Morton, substantilly enlarged the early castle in the later 15th century. It was sold to Francis Scott, 2nd Earl of Buccleuch in 1642. Anne Scott, Duchess of Buccleuch, commissioned James Smith to build the house in 1701; Smith incorporated the L-plan tower-house to the S and sides of the courtyards into his design. The ashlar sandstone was obtained from Culross and Queensferry quarries, and the house cost ?15,225 to build. The masonry work was executed by James Smith, James Smith and Gilbert Smith. William Morgan and Isaac Silverstyne carved the enriched mouldings of the principal rooms; the exterior carving was either by them, or by the Smiths. Grinling Gibbons supplied 8 or 9 chimneypieces; the marble staircase was probably installed by Richard Neale.
James Adam made some repairs to the house in 1762. James Craig drew up plans for remodelling the house and adding wings in 1776, but these
were never executed. Some minor alterations were made by James Playfair, who added the bow window on the E elevation in 1786. William Burn drew up a scheme for enlarging the house in an Elizabethan Revival style in 1831, which was never executed, and made some minor alterations to the interior; he may also have been responsible for blocking the principal door and building the porch. Interior restoration was undertaken by W Schomberg Scott in 1973.
Dalkeith House ceased to be the principal residence of the Buccleuchs after the first World War. Pictures, furniture and fittings were gradually removed, but the house was finally cleared in 1970. The house is now leased for business and educational use. A Group - see DALKEITH PARK.