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A George III door surround (the door is later). Designed by John Adam for Douglas Castle. Ca. 1757.

A George III door surround (the door is later). Designed by John Adam for Douglas Castle. Ca. 1757.

Regular price $ 135,000.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $ 135,000.00 USD
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A George III door surround. Designed by John Adam for Douglas Castle in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Ca. 1757. Installed on the west wall of the first floor back room.

Surround: 9’ 8” x 6’; door (later): 8’ x 4’.

Archibald Douglas (1694–1761) was created first Duke of Douglas by Queen Anne in 1703. Douglas killed his bastard cousin John Kerr at Douglas Castle in 1725 while Kerr made suit for the Duke’s sister. The castle burnt down in 1755, and in 1757 the Duke commissioned the Adam brothers — John, Robert and James — to rebuild the castle such that, had it been completed, it would have been the largest in Scotland.

John Adam (1721–1792), the eldest of the brothers, had recently returned from his Grand Tour, and so his designs were suffused with Continental elements. In the present door surround this is particularly clear in the frieze, with its distinctly French scrollwork surrounding a basket of wheat, flowers and fruit. Adam’s neoclassicism, however, remains on full display. Volute corbels flank the frieze, with pendant acanthus leaves and an acanthus modillion band (standing above a lovely frieze of bossed rosettes). Surrounding the doorway on three sides is palmette border outermost lined with a reeled cavetto and, innermost, a beaded border.

Douglas Castle stood — albeit not finished to the Adams’ design — until 1939, when it was demolished due to the weakening of the land on which it was built, cause by the mining of coal nearby, allowed by the 13th Earl of Home (father of Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home).

The doorway was removed from the castle in preparation for its demolition, and was sold by Stuart & Turner (for £252 14s 6d) to the Art Institute of Chicago (accession 1938.111; this number is visible on the reverse of the door proper). Sold by the order of their Board at Sotheby’s New York 18 October 1997 (lot 384), where it was acquired.

Harris, John. Moving Rooms. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007; p. 251, sub “Douglas Castle.”

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