Holmwood is a family home with grand imagination behind it. Noted Glaswegian architect Alexander “Greek” Thomson designed the classically inspired villa for paper magnate James Couper and his wife in 1857-58. Thomson was a visionary architect who used elements of Greek and Egyptian design to develop his own unique style, and Holmwood is considered to be his finest domestic creation. Outside, classical patterns are etched into the sandstone, and cupolas, columns, and floor-to-ceiling windows exude elegance. Inside, friezes depicting scenes from the Iliad are painstakingly detailed, while the bold decoration echoes the colors found in ancient Greek temples.
NTSUSA has provided significant assistance to conserving elements of the building, including the dining room. This work highlights how neglected the other rooms at Holmwood have been. The National Trust for Scotland now plans to bring renewed life to all the rooms on the visitor route. The property will thus tell the story not only of Thomson, but of the life of the Couper family and, by extension, life in Victorian Glasgow.
Holmwood’s Bicentenary Exhibition
This year, Holmwood celebrates 200 years since Alexander “Greek” Thomson’s birth. To commemorate the occasion, the National Trust for Scotland plans to develop an urgently needed new permanent exhibition at Holmwood. The existing interpretation has not been updated since the property opened to the public 20 years ago.
The project will feature a multi-sensory, interactive exhibition that will enhance the visitor experience and bring the story of Holmwood, its architects, and its residents to life. Ongoing conservation work, much of it generously funded by NTSUSA, will become part of the story, and an architectural play experience will be developed specifically for families visiting with children. The exhibition will be the primary source of interpretation at the property, with the goal of encouraging visitors to develop a spirit of inquiry, turning them into investigators and admirers of Thomson’s work.
Project Costs: $19,000