Alexander, 10th Duke of
Hamilton, installed grandiose black marble chimneypieces and
doorways as part of his campaign to demonstrate and project the
status, wealth and power of the House of Hamilton.
The earlier chimneypieces would have been
smaller and plainer. However, they may also have been the wrong
sizes and of poor quality. Lord Basil Hamilton's letter reveals
that there were considerable problems obtaining the original chimneypieces
for Anne, Duchess of Hamilton, in 1699.
The Earl of Arran acquired a number of chimneypieces which were
the wrong dimensions and, in at least one case, definitely sub-standard.
Lord Basil writes:
'The dressing room and bed chamber chimneys
[ie chimneypieces] are pretty near to the measure but not exact,
and they were desired to have been different colours and they are
one. That for the closet further wrong, in the measure [
but the Black [chimneypiece] for the dining room is entirely wrong
and can't serve at all and has no ways the proportion according
to the Rules of Architecture, but sure has been some old thing that
has lain in the man's hand that he could not get off, and so it
seems has been thought good enough for Scotland. My Lady is much
displeased at it and says since you was not at the expenses you
might have been at the pains to have seen the chimneys compared
with the measures that was sent up.'