Mavisbank House. Built in the early 1720s for Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, by the most prominent Scottish architect of his generation William Adam. This is perhaps my favourite building and the one that fascinates me most, not only because of it’s architectural merits but partly because of its puzzling history and eventual foray into years of decay and abandonment.
Looking across Lasswade towards the majestic forms of the Pentland Hills you are afforded a tantalising glimpse of Mavisbank; nuzzled in a wooded hollow just beneath the line of the Esk Valley; only it’s pediment rising above the tree-line. It’s easily missed. This stunning view inspires the intrepid explorer within, seeking adventure, desperate to uncovering and understand this place. I have often taken friends to visit and I don’t think any of them have been disappointed, be it during a snow storm, by dusk, during a glorious summers day. I don’t think it would be a cliche to use the word ‘magical’ to describe the experience.
Set in woodland by the River Esk, it’s once pristinely managed landscape has turned wild. The silhouetted volumes of the building surrounded by Heras Fencing. There is remarkable silence that accompanies such dilapidated and disused buildings and Mavisbank is no different. It’s classical forms reminiscent of a Roman Ruin.