Queen Elisabeth 11 may consider Windsor Castle her second home, but the Queen Mother always looked forward to her stay at Balmoral, tucked away in Scotland. In the Middle Ages, a Drummond castle stood on this site between Ballater and Braemar, but by 1600 the castle and estate of Balmoral lay within the vast lands of the Earl of Mar. In the 17th and 18th centuries, ownership of Balmoral passed to the Farquharsons of Inverey and then on to the Earl of Fife until in the 1830’s when it became the home of Sir Robert Gordon, brother of the Prime Minister, the Earl of Aberdeen. Balmoral is today best known as a royal residence. The favorite of the late Queen Mother and a summer retreat for Queen Elizabeth 11 and Prince Philip. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert rented it while looking for a permanent summer home in Scotland in 1848, then bought it for 30,000 pound sterling in 1852…but sold it after realizing it was too small for their needs, replacing it with the palace we see today. It served the Saxe-Coburgs well for the new Balmoral Castle could easily accommodate Victoria’s growing family, as well as the entourage on ministers and secretaries needed for the smooth running of the state during the monarch’s absence from London (when she was not in her favorite home on the Isle of Wight). Prince Albert liked the area as it was drier than most parts of the Highlands, which appealed to his advancing rheumatism. The rolling hills of Deeside also reminded him of his native homeland of Thuringia. Queen Victoria was taken with the views of Lochnagar to the south west of the castle. She knew Lord Byron’s poem ‘Dark Lochnagar and had doubtlessly heard Beethovan’s arrangement of Byron’s romantic hymn to this majestic mountain. It began as a home built in 1390 by Sir William Drummond, while the grounds belonged to King Robert 11 (1371-1390) who had a hunting lodge nearby. The estate occupies 65,000 acreas of land, includes 100 buildings, is presently valued at 160 million pound sterling, and employs about 50 full time staff and 50-100 part time staff to maintain it and look after the animals as it is a full and working estate.
HORSE BRASS: CASTLE COLLECTION: Balmoral.
Designed and manufactured by ARMAC Bassworks in Birmingham, England where they have been producing quality brassware for more than 75 years. Cast using a pure first-run ingot brass mix rich in copper for superior colour and durability. Hand finished at the foundry.