Raeburn House, the three-storey A-listed terraced house at 32 York Place, is home to one of Scotland’s most important artists’ studios, dating back to the 1790s.
Designed by the famous portrait painter Raeburn, it featured an unusually large north-facing window with a chamfered lintel, which overlooks the Firth of Forth, and a system of shutters he designed himself to control natural light while he produced masterpieces.
The same studio would inspire Peploe’s white period in the early 1900s, during which he also created some of his most famous works, including his Women in White series of paintings.
A century later, the illustrious property with its elegant Georgian facade is ready to inspire a new occupant after being transformed into nearly 9,000 square feet of contemporary workspace in a renovation spanning more than 1 £.5 million.
On the front of the property, a carved stone plaque in the shape of an artist’s palette bears the inscription: ‘In this house, built by him, Sir Henry Raeburn painted from 1798 to 1809’.
Inside, however, a modern glass-roofed extension with an open ground floor and first-floor mezzanine connects the 220-year-old townhouse to a property to the rear. According to Savills, who markets the building to potential tenants, it offers “a light, bright and unique work environment that inspires.”
Developer Keith Davidson bought the property in 2017 and completed work during the lockdown with a view to attracting a new tenant as the office sector wakes up.
He revealed that the artist’s studio remains almost exactly as Raeburn and Peploe would have found it, however.
He said: “When I first saw the building I didn’t fully appreciate its importance to Scottish art. It wasn’t until I read more that I discovered its significance .
“I set out to update it with an office tenant in mind, but the redesign, with a mix of open plan and townhouse space, is neutral enough to suit a variety of uses. .
“It feels like a special place. Raeburn’s studio had a huge window famed for its shutters, which are still there, and helped produce wonderful light for the portrait. It’s rare for a studio to survive as it does. did – it would make a phenomenal meeting room.”
Sir Henry Raeburn was born in 1756 and died in 1823. He moved into 32 York Place around 1798 and specified significant changes to the architecture so that he could entertain friends and possibly potential portrait subjects. In the studio he produced some of his most famous portraits, including ‘Thomas Elder, Lord Provost of Edinburgh’, ‘Sir Duncan Campbell of Barcaldine’, ‘Francis Macnab’ and ‘MacDonell of Glengarry’.
SJ Peploe, the most successful of the four Scottish color artists, worked there about a century later. He has painted famous still lifes such as Pink Roses, which recently sold at auction for £499,000, as well as portraits of models including his wife Margaret Mackay as ‘Mrs Peploe’ and professional model Peggy Macrae .