The Decorative Arts Are Alive And Well, At Stirling Castle...

Stirling Castle is and amazing place, especially the Royal Apartments.  King James V and his wife Mary of Guise had the apartments readied for themselves to move into the castle, but James died before they actually moved in, and just six days after their daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, was born.  He never saw her.  

His chambers here have no furniture as his household never moved in.  The only furniture is his bedstead in his bedchamber, but there are no bed draperies or bedclothes.

I was amazed at the colors at Stirling - our guide stated that they believe that the colors are accurate.  There are outer chambers, receiving chambers (where you would perhaps have an audience with the King or Queen) then their inner chambers, which were their bedchambers.  As you made your way from the outer chambers inward, the walls and ceilings became more decorative.

 The outer waiting chamber for the King.  Impressing you with his Coat of Arms.

 The ceiling, plain, yet the color scheme of blue and orange surprised me.

 Up close look at the wall border in the outer chamber.

Still in the outer chamber, the decorative painting continues up over the windows.

This is the ceiling of the receiving room, where the King would receive you.  The people whose reliefs are shown were in the Kings line etc, showing his right to rule as well as his power.  This is impressive in 2013 and imagine how amazing it would have been in the 1500's.

This is in the Kings bedchamber - more impressive painting, though this room has no curtains or furniture other than the bedstead.

 The ceiling in his bedchamber is impressive too.  I can't imagine how many hours the painters laid on their backs and painted these designs.
 Part of the kings bedstead.  Due to people in the room, I couldn't get a good shot of the whole thing.  With out the bed draperies and bedding it is very plain.

This is in the next room where the Queen slept.
 Isn't the contrast amazing?   Her room was fully furnished as she did move in here with her infant daughter.

This is the ceiling in her bedchamber.

A close up of the painting on the walls.

Now we are in the Queen's receiving room.  These tapestries are symbolic - telling the life of Christ (symbolized by the unicorn).

This is where she would sit and receive you.

 Everything, but the tapestries is painted.  Even where it looks like red fabric draped around the room.  It is truly amazing.

This is the outer chamber for the queen - the plainest of the rooms. Still always showing their power and their right to rule.

I was so impressed with the detail of the paintings, and colors that were used.  Now, granted this is a castle, and the King had much greater resources to be able to have his home be beautiful and impressive.  But when we went to Skye and saw how crofters lived, it was much plainer and in small homes.  Yet it was still made cozy and homey and decorative, within their means.

I think it speaks to that desire in all of us to make our homes warm, and inviting, and using what we have available to us to beautify them.

What do you think?

ps - these photos are all taken with my iPhone and I did a little editing on some of them with Picmonkey.  One day soon I'll show you some of Lindsay's photos.


  1. Absolutely stunning! I love the colors and the attention to detail!

    I completely agree with you regarding decorating homes.....we have little in the way of a decorator's budget, so I watch for sales of 90% off and use an approach of mix and match with natural colors in order to continue a common thread.

    Those who live here find it comforting and those who visit always comment on how cozy our home is. And to me, that is a compliment.

    Love seeing your pictures.

  2. I was here much earlier and my iPad didn't cooperate. I don't think that I can recreate what I was trying to say so let's see how much I remember. I remember that beautiful blue and think that it seems current to me. Oh it always amazes me how creative and talented people of all generations are. And, I love the symbolism of the unicorn as Christ. I imagine that you've read Goudge's "The Little White Horse."

  3. Wow! I can only imagine what these rooms looked like in person, as these photos are stunning in themselves! Were your jaws hanging open?

    I think that most of us like to surround ourselves with beauty, even if it simple and humble beauty. It seems like the Lord put a longing in our hearts for a lovely place of rest. Even the most beautiful things here will not compare to the beauty of our eternal home!

  4. Those rooms are amazing in their color and intricacies of detail (did I say that right?) . I especially like the queen's bedroom and wondeR what it must have been like to be a young mother there with new baby and husband gone. Thanks for sharing these!

  5. Such bright and cheerful colors. We often imagine that the rooms were painted in the muted colors we often see, but need to remember that they've faded through the years. You are so right - people have wanted to make their homes welcoming, beautiful, or showpieces throughout history. Our homes say something about us.
    Thanks for the tour!


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