Pirie and Clyne, 1886; John Morgan, builder. 2-storey and attic, 4-bay double villa with Egypto-Greek detailing. Rough-faced pink granite with grey granite bow windows and parapet, finely finished to margins. Grey granite base course; ground floor cill course; pilastered panelled timber doors with letterbox fanlights; projecting cills to 1st floor; grey granite lintel band course to 1st floor; parapet between pediments of principal elevation.
SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrical; 4-bay, comprising 2 2-bay mirrored, semi-detached villas. Broad doorways to centre bays of ground floor, with decorative volute brackets forming shoulders, deep set panelled timber doors with glazed panels flanking, broad fanlights with turned mullions; single windows to 1st floor above, reveals waisted towards base, sunken fillet in finely finished granite below lintels; 3-light bowed windows through ground and 1st floors of bays to outer left and right, forming balcony to attic floor, pilastered mullions with sunken fillet at capital to 1st floor; pedimented attic floor flanked by 2 deep scrolls, window to each with decorative volutes below lintel, large decorative paterae centred in pediment, decorative stone finial to apex, wallhead stack flanking pediments to inside.
NE ELEVATION: gabled; window to centre of 1st floor; addition to outer right with doorway to No 68A at ground floor.
NW ELEVATION: lean-to additions to outer bays of ground floor, remainder not seen 2000; gabled outer bays at attic floor.
SW ELEVATION: gabled; window to centre of 1st floor; addition to outer left with doorway at ground floor.
Predominantly 2-pane timber sash and case windows. Corniced gablehead and wallhead stacks with circular cans. Grey slate roof with lead ridge. Stone skews. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIORS: particularly fine interiors. Nos 68 and 68A: decorative timber and stone fireplaces, mouldings and doors survive; husked plaster frieze and ceiling to No 68A; fine stained glass to inner door of No 68, leading to stair with decoratively turned balusters, elaborate wallpaper below dado. No 70: tiled floor to oak panelled porch, with fine leaded glazing panels; mouldings and doors survive; neo-classical frieze to hall and principal rooms; distinctively turned balusters to stair.
GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: low rough-faced pink granite Aberdeen bond walls to S with grey granite snecking and coping; gatepiers to left and right, shared with Nos 64-66 and No 72 Hamilton Place (see separate listings), grey granite shaft swept up from plinth, rough-faced pink granite neck surmounted by scrolled cap, rubble dividing walls to E and W.
Statement of Special Interest
A-Group with 63, 79, 62, 64-66, 72, 74-76, 78-80, 82-84, 86-88, 90-92, 94-96 and 98 Hamilton Place, Whitehill Bowling Green Wall and 87 Fountainhall Road (see separate listings). 68-70 Hamilton Place is part of J B Pirie (1851-1892) and Arthur Clyne's (1853-1924) finest terrace. It was built for John Morgan (b. 1841), an Aberdeen builder who specialised in high quality granite cutting and carving. Morgan was a close friend of Pirie, and was involved in much of the work undertaken by the partnership. The majority of Pirie and Clyne's houses on Hamilton Place follow the same formula: symmetrical double villas of mirrored plan, 2 gables or pediments to the attic, with a parapet running between. Although the houses follow the same composition, each pair is slightly different from the next, unified by the massing, masonry techniques and variations of the same decorative motifs. From the plans it would appear that the houses were designed in outline first, then details were added later. The navel-like paterae appear in the majority of the designs by the partnership. The paterae are probably a development of the sunflower (a favourite motif of the Aesthetic Movement) or daffodil. A variation of the patera is also a favourite motif of Alexander Thomson, who appears to have been a strong influence on Pirie in particular. The use of different colours of granite, as in 68-70 Hamilton Place, gives added interest to the decorative facades. The elaborate volutes flanking the doors and attic windows are similar to waves. Many of Pirie's details appear to have a nautical theme, perhaps because his father was a sea-captain. Of note at 68-70 Hamilton Place are the bowed windows, which were unusual at that time as canted bays were much cheaper (and is employed at some of the houses, perhaps for this reason). The bows are more than a semi-circle, another feature used by Alexander Thomson, which Pirie and Clyne may have seen at "Croyland" 202 Ayr Road Newton Mearns (1875) or at Holmwood, Cathcart (1857-8) (see separate listings), which was also illustrated in Blackie's Villa and Cottage Architecture. Despite the similarities with the work of Thomson, Pirie and Clyne's designs are also highly individual. Their buildings combine High Victorian gothic, Greek, Scots Baronial, Aesthetic Movement and even proto-Art Nouveau motifs.