Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Drawing Room Fireplace Mystery

The matching pair of white marble fireplaces in the drawing room at Balintore Castle have long since gone. It is likely that these were amongst the ones that were sold off, as they were the finest at the castle, and I have found no fragments of while marble in the rubble. I almost met the gentleman who had purchased around 3 marble fireplace from Balintore Castle at a dinner party. Unfortunately he could not make the event, and is sadly no longer with us, so the trail has gone rather cold. My ambition, quite naturally, would be to visit the extant fireplaces wherever they are and to take a good set of photographs.

A long time ago a friend emailed me a scan of a poor photocopy of a photograph of one of the dining room fireplaces, but I have been unable to locate this for years. I finally bit the bullet a couple of days ago and bought the digital image from the CANMORE database, which is maintained by Historic Environment Scotland. I am limited to showing a low resolution copy on this blog, but the image is clear enough. This is one classy, extra tall, vaguely gothic, monumental French marble fireplace with a shell motif. The architect of Balintore, William Burn, used French marble fireplaces with shell motifs in other locations such as some of the bedrooms at Thirlstaine Castle, which I visited some years back. Burn had a great interest in fireplaces, as his father had been a stonemason and made fireplaces for a living,

one of the drawing room fireplaces at Balintore Castle - long since removed
So can anyone tell me where these fireplaces are currently installed? I believe it to be stately home or castle somewhat further north.


  1. My 1894 house has been through a lot, but it still retains all eight mantels and even the over-mantels.

    So, I can imagine your great thrill at one day finding your lost mantel(s)!

    And, who knows, maybe your drawing room mantel ended up in America. I will keep an eye out!

  2. You are very lucky to have retained your fireplaces. I almost bought a baronical country house as it had all the original (and all rather marvellous) fireplaces. However, it was a bit of a financial stretch.

  3. You may be aware of it already but there's a section in Volume 4 of "Angus or Forfarshire" which lists some of the owners and mentions their other properties. I suppose there's a chance that one of those owners took the fireplaces with them.

  4. I still remember an abandonned Georgian house with great sphinx fireplaces still in it, now demolished, no idea if anyone took salvage before ,,, so sad. If this were the 60's you could go round London skips and help yourself. I still remember Notting Hill's huge houses converted to bedsits as no one wanted to live there ! Now Worth many many millions ! You could always have this fireplace copied in India, they are brilliant at that sort of thing. I once visited the wood carving area in Mumbai and was astonished at the level of craftsmanship ! Maybe Worth a trip out there ! xoxoxox