William Chambers, 1771; later alterations, including Archibald Elliot II, 1825 and 1828; William Burn, 1836; John Dick Peddie, 1857; Gratton & MacLean, 1958. Free-standing Palladian villa with forecourt to Square, much extended to rear to form extensive banking premises.
ORIGINAL HOUSE: symmetrical 3-storey 5-bay villa. Polished cream sandstone ashlar. Rusticated at ground; architraved windows, pedimented at 1st floor. Pedimented tetrastyle Corinthian centrepiece with band course between 1st and 2nd floors; gilded Royal coat of arms in tympanum (added 1794); rusticated porch to centrepiece added 1828. Delicate scrolled frieze with modillioned and dentilled cornice and blocking course.
Timber sash and case 12-pane windows (6-pane to 2nd floor). Piend and platform roof; corniced ashlar stacks; grey slates. Flagpole.
BANKING HALL AND QUADRANT WALL: to rear of house; stugged ashlar with shallow lead dome. Corniced screen walls to front, that to N dated and signed PK 1858. Rubble quadrant screen wall to N with pilastered and corniced gate at centre.
S RANGES: concave quadrant ashlar link with small pavilions and pedimented window at 1st floor centre, dated 1958, to early 19th century 2-storey 3 by 8-bay droved ashlar range running E; base course, panelled aprons at ground, 1st floor cill course, cornice and parapet. Modern office block to rear.
Timber sash and case 12-pane windows. Piended roof; grey slates.
INTERIOR: very fine. All Dick Peddie at ground; vestibule with 1st floor landing and double height screen of coupled Corinthian above Ionic columns; 2-storey hall beyond with fishscale coving; stair to N with carved timber banister, bronze lamps on newells and Rococo ceiling. Magnificent Banking Hall on main axis, 18m square, with 4 wide arches springing from low in corners to support dome with 5 concentric tiers of diminishing glazed stars and central oculus; pendentives contain figures representing Commerce, Agriculture, Navigation and the Arts, by James Steell; restrained plaster relief decoration; white Italian marble and bronze counters of 1972; decoration restored 1989. Much of Chambers? work survives to upper floors; at 1st floor NE Drawing Room (Boardroom) of 1771, with carved white marble chimneypiece, corniced overdoors with carved friezes and magnificent neo-classical ceiling by Richardson, with roundels in oval centre and ends. Fret pattern original chimneypieces at 2nd floor; also the original head and oval skylight of the staircase hall, above glazed landing skylight. Iron-framed, galleried library to E; pitched roof with skylights.
RAILINGS AND LAMP STANDARDS: elaborate cast-iron spearhead railings, gates and corresponding lamp standards throughout site of 1827, by Anderson?s Leith Walk Foundry; porch lamp standards of 1828.
For Hopetoun Monument see separate listing.
Statement of Special Interest
A grand version of Marble Hill built for Sir Laurence Dundas; its forecourt, the prospective site for St Andrew?s Church, supposedly snatched from under the eyes of the Town Council by Dundas who already owned the land and gardens to the E. Dundas, however, was responsible for pushing the bill allowing Edinburgh to extend its Royalty (and thus build the New Town) through the House of Commons, and this may have been his reward. Built by the mason William Jamieson; Richardson?s surviving ceiling was illustrated in the BOOK OF CEILINGS, as ?executed for Sir Laurence Dundas Bt at Edinburgh?. The house was acquired by the Excise Office in 1794 (thus the Royal coat of arms), who added the SE range, and the Royal Bank in 1825 (who moved from No 35 - see separate listing). The Bank called in Burn in 1838, who created a new stair hall, subsequently removed by Dick Peddie. A very significant surviving part of the original fabric of Edinburgh?s New Town, which is one of the most important and best preserved examples of urban planning in Britain.