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4 Aug 2021

Found on eBay – a Hill House discovery

Written by Taylah Egbers, Visitor Services Supervisor at the Hill House
A gloved hand holds up a photographer’s slide to the light, illuminating the photograph of the Hill House from just outside its front gates.
One of the Hill House images discovered on Ebay
Our team at the Hill House has always had the support of a large international audience and now we have made a wonderful discovery all the way from America.

We recently purchased a set of 30 slides, highlighting images of both the interior and exterior of the Hill House.

The seller stated: “I got them from an architect’s estate sale, who was also a very good photographer. His wife told me he had a love for architecture and spent the 1960s and 70s traveling the world, photographing famous building and locations.”

These stunning images will help our team create a visual timeline of decorative alterations made by previous owners.

One of the most striking decorative alterations was made by the Blackie Family in 1912. The Blackie Family employed Mackintosh to return to the property to alter the Drawing Room ceiling from white to dark plum, drastically changing the aesthetic and feel of this room. Our team can see in the newly discovered slides how the dark plum colour is still present in the mid-70s. This alteration didn’t change again until the house came into the care of the National Trust for Scotland, and the rooms were restored to their original 1904 design.

A gloved hand holds up a photographer’s slide to the light, illuminating the photograph of the Hill House's Drawing Room, looking towards the fireplace and with the dark plum ceiling visible above.
The dark plum ceiling in the Drawing Room

The fantastic preservation of the Hill House interiors is attributed to the second owners of the house, The Lawson Family. In 1953 the Hill House was sold to Mr T Campbell Lawson, and it is due to the family’s care that many of the original features are still visible today. In this slide, readers can see how little has changed in the last 50 years in the White Bedroom. Mr Lawson was adamant that the house should be preserved for posterity, including the furniture, fixtures and fittings, and would not part with it for anything less. It was agreed that the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland would next care for the Hill House, maintaining the property not as a museum but as a living home.

A gloved hand holds up a photographer’s slide to the light, illuminating the photograph of the Hill House's White Bedroom, showing the fireplace and twin set of Mackintosh-designed wardrobes.
The White Bedroom

The Hill House is the first and only building by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald in the care of the Trust. Its social history and architectural importance have had a significant impact on the local and wider community. It’s fantastic to know that visitors were travelling from all around the world to admire the house from as early as the 60s and 70s. These beautiful images will help piece together the timeline of the Hill House and add to our continuous history.


We’d love YOU to be involved. Do you have images of the Hill House from the 70s, 80s or 90s? If so, we’d love to see them! Please email your images and the year of your visit to thehillhouse@nts.org.uk and become part of the Hill House story.

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