John Tait, circa 1830-1840, with later alterations. 3-storey (raised to 4-storey at central 3 bays) over basement with later attic, 32-bay, near symmetrical palace-fronted tenement block forming SW side of Rutland Square, comprising advanced and balustraded 5-bay centrepiece (Nos 16, 17 and 18), with 8-bay recessed links (Nos 14 and 15 to left; Nos 19 and 20 to right) to 5-bay terminal block to outer left (Nos 12 and 13) and 6-bay terminal block to outer right, (Nos 21 and 22). Broached sandstone ashlar at basement; polished sandstone ashlar above with polished dressings; random rubble at sides. Band course between basement and ground floors, and between ground and 1st floors; coped balustrade at 1st floor to centrepiece; cill course to 2nd floor (prjoecting cills to terminal blocks); cill course at 3rd floor to centrepiece; cornice and coped balustrade to centrepiece; cornice and blocking course to flanking bays. Moulded architraves to windows above basement level (except to terminal blocks); fluted Ionic columns to corniced porches, (except Nos 12, 13 and 22), with advanced Ionic colonnade to central 3 bays, linking porches of Nos 16 and 18; consoled cornices to 1st floor windows to centrepiece; cast-iron Saltaire cross balcony at 1st floor to link bays. Ashlar steps and entrance platts oversailing basement.
NE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 5-BAY CENTREPIECE (NOS 16, 17 and 18): timber panelled door with louvred rectangular fanlight offset to right of central bay at basement; enlarged window to bay to left of centre; timber panelled door with rectangular fanlight to return beneath entrance platt at bay to right of centre. Timber panelled door with large rectangular fanlight to bay to outer left and to penultimate bay to right at ground floor; timber panelled door with 4-pane lying-pane fanlight to bay to outer right at ground floor; window to each remaining bay at ground floor (with plain apron) and to all bays upper floors.
8-BAY LINK BLOCK TO LEFT (NO 14 AND 15): window in each bay at basement, except those beneath entrance platts; even 2-2-2 fenestration pattern separating porches with timber panelled doors and large rectangular fanlights (lying pane to No 14) at ground floor in bays 3 and 6; regular fenestration at 1st and 2nd floors; pair of segmental arched bipartite dormers to right of centre; box dormer with 2 bipartites spanning bay to outer right and bay to outer left of adjoining centrepiece.
8-BAY LINK BLOCK TO RIGHT (NOS 19 AND 20): identical arrangement to left link block, with doorways instead of windows in 2 bays at basement, and 4-pane lying-pane fanlights to both doors at ground floor; 6 evenly disposed segmental arched dormers, tripartites to 2 bays at left, bipartites to 2 central bays and bipartites set in mansard roof to 2 bays at right.
5-BAY TERMINAL BLOCK TO OUTER LEFT (NOS 12 AND 13): timber door with segmental arched fanlight at basement in bay to centre; blocked window in bay to outer left; windows in remaining bays at basement; architraved and corniced doorpiece with deep-set timber panelled door and 4-pane rectangular fanlight at ground floor in bay to outer right and penultimate bay to left; window to remaining bays at ground floor and to each bay of upper floors.
TERMINAL BLOCK TO OUTER RIGHT (NOS 21 AND 22): comprised of 2 3-bay groups with moulded architraves to windows at ground floor. Group at left (No 21): timber door with small-pane rectangular fanlight at basement in bay to right; windows to remaining bays; fluted Ionic porch with timber panelled door and large rectangular fanlight to bay to right at ground floor; window to remaining bays at ground floor; regularly fenestrated upper floors. Group to right (No 22): as No 21 except window replaces door at bay to right, basement; architraved and corniced doorpiece to outer right at ground floor, rather than Ionic porch.
SE ELEVATION: 2 panelled timber doors centred at lower basement; window at basement, offset to right of centre; window at each floor in bay to outer right and (except basement) in bay to outer left.
NW ELEVATION: advanced central bay with door at ground floor and windows to each floor above, flanked by single small window, top 2 floors.
SW ELEVATION: not seen 2000.
Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows (15-pane to much of 1st floor, 2-pane to majority of centrepiece); 2- and 8-pane timber sash and case windows to dormers. Grey slate roof. Coped rendered stacks to SE and NW wallheads and at intervals (some sandstone ashlar) along the block. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIORS: converted as offices at ground floor, No 15 is the RIAS headquarters (2000); cornices, skirting boards and timber panelled doors predominantly intact; remainder not fully seen, 2000.
RAILINGS AND LAMP STANDARDS: spear-headed cast-iron railings (plain up steps to doors), on ashlar cope, to Rutland Square; pine cone finials to shafts flanking basement gates (many missing); regularly disposed cast-iron, railing-mounted lamp standards with glass globes.
Statement of Special Interest
Part of the Edinburgh New Town A-Group, a significant surviving part of one of the most important and best preserved examples of urban planning in Britain. Archibald Elliot planned the Rutland Square/Street scheme in 1819 for James Stuart, an assertion supported by its appearance on John Wood's 1823 version of the map first published by Thomas Brown in 1820, several years before its actual completion. John Learmonth bought the ground in 1825 and developed it from 1830, his architect, John Tait working to Elliot's plans and adopting the giant Corinthian pilaster motif at the entrance to the Square (1 Rutland Square/28 Rutland Street and 32 Rutland Square/27 Rutland Street, listed separately). Rutland Street does not survive completely as intended (owing to the construction of the Caledonian Station/Hotel and alterations to the rear of St Thomas' Church - see separate list descriptions). Rutland Square, however, remains intact and, together with the remaining portions of Rutland Street, forms an important survival of 19th century planning in Edinburgh. 15 Rutland Square was the town house of the architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson. On his death in 1922 the house, which contained Anderson's library among other things, was bequeathed to the Institute of Scottish Architects (now the RIAS) which Anderson founded.