The Historic Houses Association and Sothebys
announced that the 2013 Restoration Award has been awarded to Kinross House, Scotlands first neo-classical Palladian mansion. Built in 1685 by Sir William Bruce, one of the foremost architects of the classical form, the historic house was in need of extensive restoration when its present owner, Mr Donald Fothergill, acquired the property in 2011. In a labour of love, Kinross House and Gardens have been saved from disrepair and meticulously restored to their former glory. Six other applicants from across the UK have been commended or shortlisted for this years Award.
The major restoration programme which has been undertaken over the past two years at Kinross has saved and revitalised this hugely important house from deterioration and possible future loss. The scale of the renovation is magnificent, and the house can now be seen by more people than perhaps ever in its long history - it is terrific to see the house coming back to life and being filled once again. Active use of the house is already having a beneficial effect on employment and incomes in the surrounding area. I would also like to congratulate all those projects which the judges have commended as well as those on the shortlist - Richard Compton, President of the Historic Houses Association.
This is an heroic restoration of the grandest classical house in Scotland. To see an owner devote such love, care and attention to a house which will continue as a home, is a thorough vindication of the aims of the award - Harry Dalmeny, Chairman of Sothebys UK.
Kinross House: Sir William Bruces Masterpiece
While the Scottish countryside was previously scattered with defensive castles, fortified towers and structures intended to keep people out, Kinross House, built in 1685, transformed the architectural landscape in Scotland. Designed to entertain guests and welcome its visitors, Kinross House, Scotlands first neo-classical Palladian mansion, set the standard for all Scottish building projects which followed.
The architect, Sir William Bruce, had been instrumental in restoring Charles II to power in 1660. Rewarded by the King with lucrative positions and appointed as his personal architect, Bruce set about designing a house which would reflect his prestigious new role. Although he undertook various construction projects on behalf of the King, and rebuilt the Royal Palace at Holyroodhouse, it was Kinross - Bruces private home - which was undoubtedly his masterpiece. Set within mature gardens which Bruce had planted in preparation a decade earlier, the house was fully integrated with its gardens, considered to be among the finest in England and Scotland.
Following the death of Charles II and the accession of James II, Bruce was repeatedly imprisoned - considered a potential threat to the new regime. However, his family remained in the house for a century. The Montgomery/Graham family acquired the house in 1777, and maintained the estate for 230 years including restoration of the house in the early 20th Century. Kinross was sold to Mr Donald Fothergill in 2011.
Kinross House: The Rebirth
The Grade A listed Kinross House in 2011 was nearly beyond the realms of economic repair when Mr Fothergill began his project. The entire roof, every single pipe, and every single wire in the 55 room property had to be replaced.
In a labour of love, Mr Fothergill carefully handpicked a team of specialist architects, builders and historical experts to restore the house to its former glory. Working with sensitivity and respect, and using traditional products and craftsmanship wherever possible, the restoration team remodelled every room drawing inspiration from the houses own history, historic furniture and artworks. The project also enabled parts of the interior of the house to be completed for the very first time such as the pediments above the door and the fireplaces in the Grand Salon - elements which Sir William Bruce had been unable to finish by the time of his fall from royal favour and financial ruin.
In line with Sir William Bruces vision for the house 350 years ago, the original seventeenth century garden designs have also been reinstalled - restoring the long lost historic views, geometries and horticultural plans which were so integral to Bruces neo-classical design.
As well as functioning as a contemporary home, the house is now open to the public for the first time in its history. Revitalised and filled with people once again, the house is available for special events, weddings and tours.