Lord Blantyre’s Art Collection



(c) The National Trust for Scotland, Culzean Castle, Garden & Country Park; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

As Lord Blantyre’s line died out, his estate and belongings went up for auction. This included his vast art collection, which I have to say was impressive.

On 19th April 1912, an auction was held at Erskine at his former estate to sell off the paintings, all of which had a minimum asking price of £5. I’m sure given some of the well known names, many would have fetched incredible sums.

I poured through the catalog to see if I could find any paintings or sketches of Blantyre itself, for surely the Lord of this place would have pictures of it on his walls. However, no. Plenty of beaches, sailboats, castles, but none with any reference to here. I did a double take at a painting referred to only as “Peasant making love to a milkmaid“, but as much as I’d have like to put that painting up here to show you all, I couldn’t find it.

I also wondered how much attention the art collection would have received in the news that week, for the papers would have been crammed full of stories of the Titanic sinking, which happened only 4 DAYS earlier than the auction. Advertising the auction may have been confined to small column spaces tucked away inside the newspapers.

I was surprised the auction was as late as 1912, for the last 12th Lord Blantyre died on 15th December 1900. When the 12th Lord Blantyre died in 1900 without male heirs, the property passed into the ownership of his daughter, Ellen Stewart, and her husband Sir David Baird, 3rd Baronet of Newbyth, Prestonkirk. Their younger son, Major William Baird, commissioned the architect Sir Robert Lorimer to oversee extensive refurbishment of the house in 1912 at the time of selling off the art collection.

Lennoxlove is now the seat of the Dukes of Hamilton, having been purchased by the 14th Duke in 1946. It is open to the public during the summer, accommodates corporate events and weddings, and can be rented privately by groups. It houses a large art collection today.

You can view the art collection by reference here https://archive.org/stream/blantyrpictu00chri#page/n1/mode/2up

In the attached painting is Evelyn, a daughter of the 12th Lord Blantyre. Evelyn died in 1888. Thanks to Chris Ladds for sending me a copy of the catalog.

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