Vast Baronial turretted mansion, mainly Sir Charles Barry,
1835-50, with subsequent repairs and alterations by Sir
Robert Lorimer, 1919, all encasing 14th century square
tower with abutting 17th century drum stair tower with
small pedimented windows; also further 17th century L-plan
tower house wing with angle turrets, and 1788-95 wing.
Mainly 3 storeys and attic.
Materials; 14th century tower and stair tower, rubble;
17th century range, harled to inner court, rendered to
outer faces; 18th century wing, rendered; 19th century
work, tooled ashlar with polished dressings, battered
rubble plinth, and terrace retaining walls at south.
Main entrance elevation at north dominated by square
4-stage tower with round-headed porte cochere in base
with pedimented and balconied 1st floor window above,
clasping angle turrets corbelled from 3rd floor, corbelled
castellated parapet and centre romantic corbelled square
turret with steep pyramidal roof in the manner of
Viollet-le-Duc. Tower at angle of 2 lower ranges
similarly detailed but with pedimented wallhead at right
of main north range, with ogee slated roof and ornate
clock faces above corbelled balcony with decorative
Expansive south elevation set at 3 angles with tall angle
drum towers with corbelled upper stage to those clasping
taller eastern block, and attenuated conical decorative
fish-scale and ribbed leaded roofs with terminating
Ornamental pediments to 1st floor windows of drawing
room and NE range, linked by cill bands. Cill bands also
to 2nd floor. Large oriel in SW elevation in advanced and
crowstepped gabled bay. Much ornamental detailing,
balconies, castellations, etc throughout exterior;
corniced stacks and slate roofs. Wide terracing at south
and west. Extensive service courtyard at NW.
Interior; main entrance porch leads to wide mid-19th
century staircase with ornamental Caen stone balustrade
giving onto rib vaulted landing and corridors leading to
main 1st and 2nd floor rooms.
Dining room; re-designed by Sir Robert Lorimer with
ornate coffered moulded plaster ceiling, classical
grisaille frieze of Italian origin, light wood panelled
walls and Tudor style chimneypiece; cast-iron fire back.
Billiard room; large panelled room to accommodate two
billiard tables, reconstructed by Lorimer from 1850
library; pine panelled walls, ornate pilaster ceiling;
green marble chimneypiece with swags above attributed to
Breakfast room; canted ends; simple plaster walls with
panelled dado; ornate door case with oyster walnut door;
the overdoor and the incorporating swags by Grinling
Gibbons; 17th century style plaster ceiling; all
re-designed by Lorimer.
Drawingroom; re-designed by Lorimer combining 2 smaller
rooms of Barry wing; long room lit by 5 full length
windows; ornate plaster ceiling with reticulated design,
central armorial boss and decorative frieze; decorative
carved marble chimneypiece with lugged moulded surround
set with figured green and white marble; corniced
door-cases; decorative panelled doors and window shutters
with secondary glazed inner shutters (for double
glazing); ornamental radiator casings.
Library; re-designed by Lorimer from former principal
bedroom and dressing rooms, panelled throughout and
shelved with sycamore wood; figured marbled fireplaces at
Duke's study; Lorimer panelling in larch; moulded and
lugged wood chimney-piece with figure marble surround;
small wrought iron balcony to window.
Green and gold bedroom; French style, 1921 (for Duchess
Eileen); stippled green panelled walls with gilt garlanded
and mirrored panels; white marble chimneypieces; painted
swag motif decorates ceiling.
Statement of Special Interest
Seat of Sutherland family. Hugh, Lord of Duffus (Moray)
and grandson of Freskin de Moravia, acquired lands in
Sutherland before 1211.
Hugh's son William became 1st Earl of Sutherland circa
1235. Freskin line ended in 1514, title inherited by
Elizabeth Gordon, sister 5th Earl (d.1514), wife Hon.
Adam Gordon, younger son of 2nd Earl of Huntly. 1766
inherited by later Elizabeth Gordon (only daughter 18th
Earl) who married George Granville Leveson-Gore, later
2nd Marquis of Stafford, who inherited enormous
industrial wealth in West Midlands of England, and was
subsequently created 1st Duke of Sutherland (d.1834).
2nd Duke initiated Sir Charles Barry additions.
Dukedom passed elsewhere in 1963, but Dunrobin Castle and
Sutherland estates inherited by Elizabeth, present
Countess of Sutherland in her own right.
Stone for 1835-50 from Brora and Braambury quarries,
Sutherland. Staircase and entrance hall lined with Caen stone.
Much of the interior destroyed by fire in 1915, when the
castle was used as a naval hospital. It was this damage
that initiated the re-designing of the interior by Sir
Robert Lorimer in 1919.