Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, is one of Robert Adam’s less familiar commissions — yet just as extraordinary as many of his more famous buildings. Recently rescued from neglect by owners David Home Miller and Catherine Macdonald-Home, it has a fascinating story to tell about the development of his castle style.
The ‘castle style’ of the Georgian era might be said to have been invented by Vanbrugh, who aimed to give ‘something of the castle air’ with his additions to Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdonshire, in 1707–10 .
In practice, that amounted to little more than a battlemented parapet applied to a completely symmetrical building. In the late 18th century, the architect Robert Adam was undoubtedly influenced by Vanbrugh, whose mastery of what he called ‘movement’ in architectural composition — ‘the rise and fall, the advance and recess with other diversity of form, in the different parts of a building’ — he admired (although he deplored the Baroque master’s ‘barbarisms and absurdities’).