A revivalist style of architecture that emerged during the mid-19th century in Scotland
Sometimes referred to as Scots Baronial, this was a revivalist style of architecture that emerged during the mid-19th century in Scotland and applied largely to country houses. It took its inspiration from the fortified and semi-fortified Scottish houses of the 16th and 17th centuries. But an important motivation was a new interest and exploration of national identity, which stemmed in part from the historical novels of Sir Walter Scott and expressed in built form by his house at Abbotsford (1824), with its crow-stepped gables and projecting turrets. Further impetus was given when Queen Victoria acquired Balmoral and reconstructed it in 1852-1856. Scottish Baronial was also a reflection of a more general European interest in the revival of picturesque styles, which were used to express national character. It conveyed a romantic image of Scottish national identity and tradition, typified by the incorporation of architectural features such as crenellations, turrets, gables, small windows, little ornamentation and the use of rough-hewn stone.
What to look for in a Scottish Baronial building:
- Irregular outline with vertical emphasis
- Turrets (usually round)
- Crow-stepped gables
- Small windows
- Stone or granite
Article by Suzanne Waters
British Architectural Library, RIBA
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