A highlight of our guided tours at Thirlestane Castle is the incredible collection of portraits located in our State Dining Room. This is one of the most extensive family collections in Scotland dating back to 1590 and guests can discover almost the entire line of Maitlands from the 16th to the 20th century. Thirlestane has been home to the Maitland family for over 400 years, and it is a wonderful opportunity for our Clan Maitland visitors to have a glimpse of their ancestors.
Experience highlights such as the pink granite fireplace dating back to 1840, featuring busts on either side of Charles 2nd Earl Gray and the 11th Earl. The most recent artwork is that of Patrick, the 17th Earl, as the 16th Earl, The Rev Alfred and 18th Earl, Ian Maitland, are more modernly represented by a photograph on the mantelpiece above the fireplace. Every Earl may be accounted for in this room apart from the 12th Earl, who was sadly killed by lightning!
The portraits are the work of famous artists, such as Romney, Reynolds, Kellar, Lawrence and Lely, as well as the prolific Scots painter, Scougal. They were the best of their time, and their masterpieces can be found all over the world in prestigious art galleries such as the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the National Gallery in London. Notably, Kellar also painted the likes of King Charles II, George I of Great Britain and world-famous scientist, Isaac Newton.
Sir Joshua Reynolds’ portrait of Mary Turner Lombe, wife of the 7th Earl, is high left of the Duke and, in fact, illustrates Reynolds’ technical weakness in preparing his materials, for the carmine has faded completely, leaving Mary with a ghostly white skin tone.
Once you have taken in the detail of each of the incredible portraits, look up to enjoy the fine plasterwork ceilings. The State Dining Room features a Jacobean-style ceiling which is highly detailed but less flamboyant than the seven ceilings which were completed by George Dunsterfield, located throughout the state rooms.
This room is one of many filled with centuries of Scottish history and Clan Maitland heritage. Take a step back in time and let our experienced guides bring Thirlestane Castle to life. Guided tour availability can be checked, and tickets can be booked below: