Images of the Library and Billiard Room of Seafield House have recently been identified in a collection of cyanotypes of British House interiors of the 1880s-1890s. Cyanotypes are an early form of photographic print, so named because of the cyan-blue image that the printing process produces. The collection was acquired by Bernard Quaritch Ltd, antiquarian booksellers, and is included in their Autumn Listing of rare books and manuscripts for sale. The set was subsequently acquired by the Yale Center for British Art, a museum and study collection at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where it will be digitized and soon made accessible via their web site.
The cyanotype collection is of 86 photographs of architectural and decorative interiors in a catalogue entitled “Intérieurs Anglais”. It is thought that the catalogue was compiled for the French market as a showcase of the finest interior designs in fashionable British homes of the time. The two Seafield House pictures are by Bedford Lemere & Co. and similar to those held in the RCAHMS Seafield House Collection. Joanna Skeels, of Quaritch, who was cataloging the collection, had been in touch with Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) to find out more about the house. FoSH committee members have a wealth of knowledge about Seafield House and Sir William Arrol. From research material on Arrol’s art collection, we were able to provide information to help identify a the painting hanging on the wall in one of the photographs, as well as providing general background information on the house and it’s history.
Joanna Skeels said “It is significant that Seafield is positioned in the context of other great houses. It is exciting to think it was being showcased abroad as some of the finest British interiors.”
Friends of Seafield House were delighted to hear of Seafield House’s importance, being recognised, at the time, as one of the finest decorative interiors of the late nineteenth century.
Our thanks go to Quaritch for acknowledging Friends of Seafield House in the details for the Collection and we are pleased that they will remain in the public domain with the Yale Center for British Art.