Duff House

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Unpick the tale of two Williams – William Duff, owner of Duff House, and William Adam, its architect. The two fell out over money during the creation of this splendid early Georgian mansion, leading to a five-year court case. As home to noted art collectors, Duff House has long been adorned with magnificent paintings. It later played an active role in the Second World War. Today, Duff House is a country house gallery displaying collections from the National Galleries of Scotland.


Exhibitions at Duff House

NGS Masterpiece Loan: Lord Byron by William Edward West, 1822

21 September 2023 to 25 August 2024, during opening hours.

The infamous romantic poet Lord Byron (1788-1824) was half-Scottish and spent his early childhood in Aberdeen. He retained a trace of a Scottish accent throughout his life. Byron's complicated relationships had caused a scandal and in 1816 he left Britain forever. At the time of this portrait, he was living in Italy with his lover, Countess Teresa Guiccioli. In 1822 when the painting was being created, the Artist, William Edward West, complained that the poet was a difficult sitter, either restless and over-talkative or silent and self-conscious. Nobody liked the finished work; Teresa said it was a 'frightful caricature'.


William Edward West (1788-1857) made a name for himself as a painter of miniature portraits in his native Kentucky whilst still in his teens. A benefactor financed his studies in Thomas Sully's studio in Philadelphia. He visited Italy in 1819 and stayed in Europe for the next twenty years. In 1825 he moved to London but financial difficulties forced him to go back to America. Washington Irving, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron were among his most celebrated sitters.


Arpita Shah: Nalini

12 April - 14 July 2024, during opening hours

Spanning India, East Africa and the UK, Nalini explores the connected histories of Arpita Shah’s mother, her grandmother and herself. The exhibition reveals ancestral intimacies across space and time, and how their histories, memories and bodies are intertwined.


Nalini is a personal journey for Arpita Shah, which has allowed her to reconnect with the past through her maternal lineage and explore how migration, distance and loss have shaped their lives. The artist herself was born in India, grew up in Saudi Arabia and Ireland, and now lives in Scotland. Shah says, “My grandmother was born in India but grew up in Kenya for 12 years before moving back to India. Although I visit my grandmother every couple of years in India, I have realised how little I really know about what she was like as a young woman, her memories, experiences and what her relationships were like with her own mother and her daughter.”

  • Official Star Rating
  • Opening Times

    Open All Year

    29 Mar* - 30 September
    10am to 4.30pm (last entry 15.30)

    *Currently there is reduced access to Duff House, with two guided tours running at 10.45 and 1.30 from Friday - Sunday.
  • Facilities
    • Toilets
    • Gift Shop
    • Parking
    • Coach parking
    • Public Transport
  • Accessibility
    • Disabled Access
    • Blue Badge Parking
    • Induction loop

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