Visitors to Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford home in the Scottish Borders can now stay in the historic property where Scott, author of titles including Rob Roy, Ivanhoe and Waverley, wrote many of his great works.
Following the re-opening of the main part of the historic house this summer after a multi-million pound restoration, the Hope Scott Wing of Abbotsford, where Scott and his descendants lived, has undergone a £1.25 million refurbishment.
The Hope Scott Wing was extended in the 1850s by Sir Walter’s granddaughter Charlotte Hope Scott to create a family home that protected the privacy of Scott’s descendants after the writer’s historic rooms were opened to the public in 1833, five months after his death.
Available for visitors to rent as a whole, the wing includes seven luxury bedrooms, each individually designed to maintain the intimacy of a private country home. Many original features have been retained, and the Wing has family belongings including original artworks, items of furniture, chandeliers, photographs, ornaments, antiques and trinkets including a Victorian snuff mull made from a ram’s horn and modeled in the form of a serpent.
Rooms include a sitting room (originally the withdrawing room of Sir Walter’s wife Charlotte) with a Bechstein boudoir piano owned by Dame Jean and Mrs Patricia Maxwell Scott, the last of Scott’s descendants to live in the house. Portraits of the two ladies hang on either side of the original fireplace, above which sits an oil painting by Charles Martin Hardie depicting Scott’s meeting with Robert Burns.
Other artworks include numerous portraits of Sir Walter and other well-known figures including the Marquis of Montrose, Lady Hope, the Fourth Earl of Hopetoun, Lord Fairfax and Eddie Ochiltree, a character from Scott’s novel The Antiquary, as well as scenes of the Scottish Borders.
The formal dining room, which seats 16, looks out over the River Tweed, and guests can also make use of a billiard room, a library and kitchen, a private courtyard and a private patio garden.
The grand cream-and-green four-poster bed that is the centerpiece of the accommodation’s Hope Scott Suite is part of a suite of furniture copied in the 1930s from pieces now held by the Victoria and Albert Museum that were created by Thomas Chippendale, while in the Lady Scott suite, the former bedroom of Sir Walter’s wife Charlotte, guests will use Mrs. Patricia Maxwell Scott’s art deco Maple marriage furniture suite. The Princess Alice bedroom is named after the Queen’s aunt, to whom Dame Jean Maxwell Scott was Lady in Waiting. (Cool touch: The Princess stayed in this room in the Hope Scott Wing.)
In two of the rooms, guests can see Scott’s original decorative scheme painted by David Ramsay Hay, who also decorated Holyrood House in Edinburgh for Queen Victoria.
Best of all, the new accommodation will provide a source of revenue for The Abbotsford Trust, which still needs to raise £2.5 million to create an endowment to secure the attraction’s future running costs.