The Buccleuch Collection can largely be viewed when visiting the houses, Boughton House, Drumlanrig Castle and Bowhill House. There are, also, pieces on loan to various institutions across the UK including the National Gallery of Scotland, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Museums of Scotland.
The Collection includes examples across all art disciplines and mediums and encompasses a vast archive of correspondence and papers.
There is a strong sense of responsibility felt by the family in connection to The Collection as one that should be protected for generations to come to enjoy and appreciate.
A piece of history restored
When we walk about, we naturally concentrate on the things in our immediate eyeline (or our phones!). Sometimes, though, taking the time to look up can reveal hidden gems, and a slice of history.
Visitors to Boughton House can now look up to the dome at the highest point of the stable block where they will see the carefully restored weathervane.
Dating from the early 18th century, the weathervane has been exposed to the elements for hundreds of years, and this takes it toll.
Buccleuch’s stewardship extends beyond the land on the estates to include the buildings within its care. The teams maintain these inside and out, from top to bottom.
Close inspection showed the weathervane needed TLC to keep it in shape. The mixed metals were badly corroded and other parts needed attention. Working with a master lead and metal worker, Harry, the Building Services team carefully removed the weathervane and restoration could begin. Previous repairs had to be made right and the weathervane was repainted.
Alasdair Peebles, a specialist in restorative paintwork, applied gilding to the copper letters and wind directional flag, following descriptions and images from the Buccleuch archive. This is a delicate operation – the gold leaf uses was 0.5 microns thick, which is 5.5 microns smaller than a human hair!
Using seasoned English oak from Boughton Estate, a final repair was made to the weathervane’s support before reinstatement.
Such sensitive restoration is only possible thanks to specialist craftsmen and the information held in the archives.
Using records and the maker’s’ stamp, Buccleuch’s archivist, Crispin Powell, identified Samuel Marc as the maker of the weathervane. A Huguenot refugee, Marc escaped from Caen, Normandy, finally settling in London. There is reference in Marc’s accounts to a ‘weathercock’ billed in 1706. It is thought that this is the weathervane at Boughton House, and may be Marc’s only surviving, documented piece of work.
So, next time you are out and about, remember to look up. There may just be a rich vein of history there for you to discover.