Scottish Magical Castles and Stately Homes with Alan Montgomery

Scottish Magical Castles and Stately Homes with Alan Montgomery


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The county of Aberdeenshire in northeast Scotland is rightly famous for its unrivaled collection of magical castles and grand stately homes. Built over many centuries, these wonderful buildings, each with their own distinctive architectural characteristics and intriguing stories, offer a fascinating glimpse of upper-class life across the last seven hundred years of Scotland’s history. Aberdeenshire’s castles and stately homes also offer a unique insight into the evolution of the Scottish nation. Led by a Scottish historian, this conversation will discuss everything from Aberdeen’s forbidding fortresses through fairytale towers to luxurious mansions.

In troubled times, the aristocratic families of Aberdeenshire built themselves forbidding stone fortresses such as Kildrummy and Auchindoun, both now majestic ruins. Later, the fashion was for tall towers, still strong but certainly more luxurious - the castles of Crathes and Fyvie, for example, would provide both safety and comfort for their wealthy inhabitants. But by the eighteenth-century, grand mansions such as Leith Hall or Haddo House were the order of the day. We’ll learn how all of these castles and houses would see dramatic events over the centuries, and several are even supposed to be haunted. Craigievar, with its striking rosy hue and clusters of pointy-roofed turrets, is reportedly said to have inspired Disney’s iconic ‘Cinderella’ castle.

Led by a Scottish historian who has spent much time in Aberdeenshire, this interactive seminar will explore a selection of the area’s most famous castles and stately homes, discussing both the buildings and the stories of the people who constructed and inhabited them. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an insight into the history of some of Scotland’s most beautiful historical monuments.

Alan Montgomery was born and raised in Scotland but has spent most of his adult life in London. Having achieved an MA in Art History at Glasgow University, he worked for many years in the art world at both an international auction house and an antique dealer. In recent years he has returned to academia, achieving an MA in Classical Civilisation in 2011, and has recently completed a Ph.D. in which he analyzed eighteenth-century attitudes towards the ancient Roman world. In addition to his work for Context Travel, Alan also writes catalog essays on Contemporary Art for a leading auctioneer. Elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 2017, he has just started work on a book inspired by his Ph.D. research, which will be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2020.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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