Pirie and Clyne, 1885; John Morgan, Builder. 2-storey and attic, 4-bay eclectic double villa. Rough-faced grey granite, finely finished to margins. Dark grey granite base course; ground floor cill course; pilastered panelled timber doors with letterbox fanlights; moulding cill course to 1st floor; sunken fillet course at impost level at 1st floor; eaves course; 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 half-volute brackets below lintels, deep set panelled timber doors with glazed panels flanking, broad fanlights; single windows to 1st floor above, reveals waisted towards base; 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 half-volutes below lintels, large decorative paterae centred in pediment, scrolled acroteria, wallhead stack flanking pediments to inside.
NE ELEVATION: gabled; 2-storey flat-roofed wing adjoining to right, doorway with window above to left return, eaves blocking course.
NW ELEVATION: near-symmetrical; 4-bay; 2 broad doorways to centre 2 bays at ground floor, windows above and canted dormers to attic; single window to bays to outer left and right at ground and 1st floors, rectangular dormers with cat-slide roofs to attic floor; single storey wings advanced to outer left and right, modern additions to that at No 54.
SW ELEVATION: gabled; flat-roofed wing to left, scrolled coping, doorway and window to left return.
Predominantly 2-pane timber sash and case windows. Grey slate roof with lead ridge. Stone skews. Corniced wallhead and gablehead stacks with circular cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: both houses retain staircases with distinctively turned timber balusters. Simple cornices and mouldings. Fireplaces predominantly removed.
GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: coped low rough-faced granite Aberdeen bond walls to SE; square-plan gatepier to left, with pyramidal cap, shared with adjacent property; decorative gatepier to right (shared with 50 Queen's Road, see separate listing); battered rough-faced granite base, finely finished shaft, corniced with pink and grey granite banded pyramidal cap and spherical finial. Granite and brick coped rubble walls to remainder.
Statement of Special Interest
A-Group with 50 Queen's Road and 46 and 48 Queen's Road (see separate listings). From the beginning of the 19th century Aberdeen rapidly expanded westwards from Union Street. 52 and 54 Queen's Road is part of the later 19th century development W of Queen's Cross. Queen's Road is on the site of Skene Road, which was originally surrounded by the estate of Rubislaw. In 1877 Rubislaw Estate was bought by the City of Aberdeen Land Association, who re-aligned the road and sold off the estate in smaller plots. Streets became wider and villas with substantial gardens often replaced terraces. Prestigious architects, such Pirie and Clyne, were often employed to produce bold and unusual designs to reflect the wealth and individuality of the clients. 52 and 54 Queen's Road 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 double villas follow the same formula (seen at its best in Hamilton Place): symmetrical double villas of mirrored plan, 2 gables to the attic, with a parapet running between. Although the houses follow the same composition, each pair is slightly different from the next, tied together 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 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. The plans are signed by John Rust, but the style is distinctively that of Pirie and Clyne.