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Objects of Interest


Benjamin Franklin

A Staffordshire pottery figure of Benjamin Franklin, labelled George Washington. We can only assume that the factory could not tell one American from another!


Ancient Iron-bound Chest

An ancient iron-bound chest, said to have belonged to Captain Cook, the circumnavigator. The shape of the chest allowed it to fit snugly into a coach or the end of a ship. By a curious coincidence, the hill from which Captain Cook first saw from the sea was Rosebery Topping, the hill from which the Earl of Rosebery chose his title.




Dice-game 1737

A mechanical dice-game made in Paris in 1737 and still in perfect working order. When the cord is pulled the three dice are automatically and, one hopes, randomly spun by a system of wheels and cogs.


An Antique Oriental Gong

An antique oriental gong, once at Craigmillar Castle and subsequently at Duddingston Church, Edinburgh. It hangs on a frame made of wood cut down by Mr Gladstone when staying at Dalmeny. For more than a century the gong has been used to signal the time to go into dinner.



Prince of Wales Gift 1897

A life-sized painted wood figure given to the 5th Earl of Rosebery by the Prince of Wales in 1897. In times past, figures like these used to stand in front of every tobacconist; now it signals that there is no smoking at Dalmeny - for the health of the objects.


Covenanter's Execution Knife

This folding knife with two extremely sharp blades is almost one metre long. It was sold to the 5th Earl of Rosebery as a Covenanter's Execution Knife from Falkirk.


Porcelain Pigment Sample Plate

The vivid colours of finished porcelain conceal the fact that the pigments used are almost indistinguishable before they are fired at high temperature in the kiln. This rare surviving sample plate allowed porcelain painters to check the finished effects of different pigments and thicknesses of paint.


Porcelain Flowers

Madame de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV, adored porcelain and she once filled a whole room with flowers like these, each perfumed according to its species, as a present for the King.



Presented by King James I & VI

A snuff container presented in 1580 by King James I and VI to the Sheep's head Tavern in Duddingston.


Scold's Bridle

This so-called scold's bridle was designed to fit around the head of a nagging woman; the tongue-piece would have made any further conversation extremely difficult. There is no record of it having been used at Dalmeny.

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