James Smith of Glasgow, architect. Built 1860-63. Elaborately detailed large, asymmetrical, Scottish Baronial mansion house; 2 and 3 storeys over basement, and set on slope, with 5-storey square tower at north west corner and 3-storey stair tower to west. Stugged coursers with polished dressings and raised quoins. Either square or segmental-headed windows with shaped hood-moulds, carved label stops, pedimented dormer
heads to upper floors, corbelled angle turrets and crowstepped gables.
North elevation: tower with corbelled and crenellated parapet and cap house attached to 3-storey entrance range; off-centre large corbelled and crenellated porte-cochere leading to projecting porch with round- arched door; stair window to left, with two 2-storey bays beyond and angle turret.
South (garden) elevation: Asymmetrically massed, stepped down from west to east. Outer gabled bays linked by boldly bracketted balcony at raised ground floor with central stair to garden. Canted windows in outer bays; angle turret at south west corbelled from 2nd floor. Conical-roofed stair tower in re-entrant angle at south east corbelled at upper level. Plate glass windows throughout, mosly sashes. Stacks,
coped, or with grouped diamond flues; slated roofs, with fish-scale slating over turrets. Modern steel fire escape to west.
Interior: Elaborate classical doorpieces, chimneypieces and entablatures, and ornate ceiling plasterwork. Vaulted stair passage, decorated with painted panels, leads from main door into Corinthian- columned entrance hall. Principal rooms on ground and 1st floors lead off long lobby; ground floor lobby has ribbed ceiling and 2 shell-hooded niches with entablatures; drawing room is L-plan, with very rich plasterwork, and painted ceiling panels. Dining room and library ceilings each have pendant cornice. Cast-iron stair balustrade has lion rampant pattern entwined in thistle decoration.
Terraced, rectangular garden enclosure to south is enclosed by buttressed and bull-faced ashlar retaining wall with pierced ashlar parapet, steps are central on south wall; circular bastions at south east and south west corners.
Statement of Special Interest
Built for James White of Overtoun. Acquired by Dumbarton Town Council 1939, and used for a time as a maternity hospital. On the outside of the house are biblical inscriptions and these, as well as the instruments represented on drawing room ceiling panel, all relate to Psalm 150 (information from present (1981) tenants). There are 2 marble statues of Ruth G B Lombardi of Rome, 1872, each which formerly occupied a niche in ground floor lobby. In addition are 2 busts by J Warrington Wood, Rome, 1873, of Lord & Lady Overtoun.
The grounds were landscaped and laid out by C Kemp of Birkenhead. The high quality of the interior work is of part interest.