© Country Life Picture Library
View of late 17th-century staircase
The enlargement and enhancement of the palace
between 1822 and 1828 by Alexander, 10th
Duke of Hamilton (1767-1852) and the architect, David Hamilton
(1768-1843) led to the creation or refurbishment of the interiors
on a grand scale, and of the late 17th-century rooms or features
which survived this massive programme few escaped embellishment
or re-modelling to some degree. Originally set within the north-west
turret, the location of the old great stair did not fit in with
the scheme of 1820s and was re-located to a newly created stairwell
in the outer west wing between the two service courts.
This view shows the oak-balustraded scale-and-platt
(flight and landing) staircase created by the master carver, William
Morgan for William, 3rd Duke (1634-94)
and Anne, Duchess of Hamilton (1632-1716).
Each of the ten rails which make up the stair is from a single piece
of wood, and the ten panels are intricately carved with flowing
foliaceous ornament, variously containing human figures, animals
and the intertwined monogram, W and A, for William and Anne, surmounted
by ducal coronet (bottom left). The newly created stairwell has
marbled walls and on the main floors (not shown in this image) classical
statuary set in niches.
This image is one of a series of 133 surviving
photographic plates taken by A E Henson, a staff photographer of
Country Life, to accompany articles
by H Avray Tipping on the palace and its picture collections in
1919. At that date, the fate of the doomed palace was already sealed
and the plates were used to illustrate Christie's catalogue of the
sale of the remaining contents held on 12 November 1919.