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Inverary Castle
This multi-turreted mock Gothic palace is the family home of the powerful Clan Campbell, who have been the Dukes of Argyll since 1701. The castle and the small town beside Loch Fyne were both the brainchild of Archibald Campbell, the third Duke. Until the seventeenth century, when they became absentee landlords, the family had lived in a fifteenth-century L-shaped tower house beside the Aray.
In 1743, when the sixty-two year old Archibald inherited from his brother the Argyll title and the estates he had not visited for nigh on thirty years, and there was no carriage road within forty miles of Inverary. The old castle was a ruin and the town a squalid little collection of insanitary huts beside the loch. The new Duke decided to build a new castle with larger grounds, stretching down to the Aray River and to Loch Fyne. This necessitated him moving the town and all inhabitants. He hired architect John Adams to build a new Georgian town on the peninsula closeby.

The plan for the new castle was inspired by a sketch by Vanburgh. He died soon afterwards, but the great architect's germ of an idea became the basis of the house which the 2nd Duke was eventually to build.

The foundation stone was laid in 1746 and what followed was the construction - to a design by the architects Roger Morris and William Adam - of a truly modern, baroque, Palladian and Gothic-style castle, architecturally before its time. Both Morris and Adam died before the castle was finished and Adam's sons, John and Robert, brought the castle to completion 43 years after the first stone was laid.

John Clark of Eldin's painting of Inveraray showing the new castle, the ruins of the old castle and town c.1760
The castle we know today was the result of a fire in 1877, which resulted in the addition of the third floor and conical roofs on the corner towers.
Inveraray - 2011
The castle interior is a delight. Particularly attractive are the State Dining Room, with its exquisitely painted wall panels and ceiling design by Robert Adam, the elaborate Tapestry Drawing Room, and the Armoury Hall. The castle's wonderful collection of Oriental and European porcelain is arranged in cabinets within a China Turret, whose light Wedgewood-style papier mache ceiling is the very antithesis of the buildings jumbled exterior. There are many treasures, including eighteenth-century Beauvais tapestries, superb furniture (there are ten sets of gilded chairs, some upholstered with Beauvais tapestry), and paintings by Kneller and Gainsborough. Particularly eye-catching are four nefs: German silver-gilt table decorations in the form of wheeled ships.

The Armoury Hall, Inverary Castle
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