1823. 2-storey, 9-bay country house with Classical details comprising 5-bay principal block with advanced pedimented section to centre and single-storey wings with Venetian windows to slightly advanced outer bays. Coursed, squared whinstone with pale sandstone dressings to principal (W) elevation; whinstone rubble elsewhere. Band course and blocking course. Long and short quoins, rusticated to outer corners of principal block. Regular fenestration with ashlar margins and projecting cills. Steps to timber-panelled front door with sidelights and fanlight within engaged Doric portico. 2-window bow to right.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: wings extend back to E forming courtyard to rear, enclosed by coped rubble wall. Single-storey piended outshot to centre of rear elevation; round-arched stair window above; canted bay to left and pair of segmental-arched dormers to attic. Lean-to timber conservatory adjoins S wing.
12-pane glazing to timber sash and case windows. Blind boxes to some windows. Broad, coped wallhead stacks with clay cans. Grey slate. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: panelled entrance hall with pilastered corner angles and parquet flooring; pair of fluted supporting columns on plinth and open stair with turned balusters and serpentine handrail; decorative fire surround with fluted columns, garlanded entablature and beveled mirror. Former dining room in S wing with basket-arched inglenook with elaborate pedimented overmantle flanked by arcarded alcoves. Fine marble and plasterwork Classical-revival fireplaces elsewhere. Timber-panelled doors and moulded cornicing.
OUTBUILDING, WALLED GARDEN AND STABLE BLOCK, GATE LODGE AND GATEPIERS: to N of house: 3-bay, gabled, rubble outbuilding with lean-to forming secondary courtyard; small square windows to upper floor.
Large rectangular walled garden situated on sloping ground to NE of house with potting shed to N corner.
Long stepped-roofed stable and coach house adjoins E corner of walled garden; whinstone rubble with ashlar dressings and timber bargeboarding.
Principal entrance drives running North and South. Diminuitive gate lodge to N drive beside Galashiels Road (A7). Square-capped gatepiers and cast-iron gates.
Statement of Special Interest
Torquhan House is an attractively proportioned Classical country house with single-storey pavilion wings occupying a fine hill-side setting overlooking the Gala valley. The compact massing and use of Neo-Palladian details is indicative of the late Georgian period with advanced pediment, Doric doorpiece and Venetian windows. The finely dressed and coursed local whinstone to the principal elevation is of note. The house was built for William Colvin, formerly of Mitchelston (see separate listing).
The principal elevation is symmetrical save for the bow window to ground floor right and lean-to timber conservatory/greenhouse adjoining the S wing to far right. The form of Torquhan House shares elements with nearby Burn House (see separate listing) situated a short distance to the N, following the Classical style of eminent Scottish architect John Smith. The Edinburgh architects, Dick Peddie and Kinnear carried out a number of alterations to the property between 1885 and 1889 including the addition of the bow window to front left and may have been responsible for some of the interior details.
The single-storey wings at Torquhan are given a Palladian treatment. Andreas Palladio, the foremost Italian architect of the 16th century, re-introduced the proportions and style of ancient Rome into his buildings. His influence on the neo-classicism of the contemporary country house reached its high watermark by the end of the 18th century.
List description updated at resurvey (2009).