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Architectural Drawing by Sir Rowand Anderson

Architectural Drawing by Sir Rowand Anderson, 1888. The Bute Archive Mount Stuart

The current Mount Stuart is one of the most outstanding Gothic Revival buildings in the British Isles, and the vision of the 3rd Marquess of Bute – arguably the greatest architectural patron of the 19th century. Sir Robert Rowand Anderson prepared plans for this second Mount Stuart in 1879 and construction began in 1880. Work continued up until 1912, and the House – spectacular though it is – remains unfinished to this day. The interior was decorated by some of the finest craftsmen of the age including the architectural artist Horatio Walter Lonsdale, sculptor Thomas Nicholls, and architect William Frame.

During the 1980s, the 6th Marquess of Bute began an ambitious programme of work on the house – to complete unfinished features, restore existing decoration and create new artistic works. Lord Bute also undertook a major overhaul of the exterior fabric of the building. Projects included the decoration of the Chapel lantern by Tom Errington, etched glass windows by Alison Kinnaird and detailed stone carvings by Peter Regent. Lord Bute sadly passed away before the programme was completed but it (and more recent work) has paved the way for the transformation of Mount Stuart into one of the UK’s top visitor attractions.

Courtesy of Bute Archive Mount Stuart

Bute Archive Mount Stuart

The Bute Collection contains 25,000 rare books and artefacts in one of the UK’s foremost private collections. Housed in the magnificent Gothic revival mansion of Mount Stuart on the isle of Bute, it provides a glimpse into centuries of art and history reflecting the interests of successive generations of the Bute family. Visitors can view everything from works on theology and ornithology to porcelain and custom-made furniture. A recent find of global significance is a Shakespeare First Folio containing many of the Bard’s most familiar plays.

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Let's work together

If you truly treasure something the best way to show that love is to share it. The Keyhole Collection is dedicated to bringing artwork and artefacts to a new audience. We do this by sharing and collaborating. Working with museums, archives, organisations and stately homes we unearth the quirky and the curious. Images and objects which may have lain unloved and out of sight for centuries can be admired and appreciated again. The stories behind their creation seen through new eyes. The cards we produce celebrating the original work and the history behind it but with a fresh, colourful approach designed to appeal to everyone. So if you are curator or archivist and would like to bring your collection to life and attract new visitors please just get in touch. We also work with families and individuals who own special collections and would like to share these in memorable ways with friends and loved ones. Find out more about how we work and the organisations we work with.