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The word boudoir was used in the 18th century to describe a female bedroom or small private sitting room. The lady of the house traditionally used it for receiving and entertaining visitors. In the 19th century the boudoir became the female equivalent of the male study and it was here that Annie Russell-Cotes may have sewn, read and written letters.
Queen Victoria's youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice took tea with Annie in this room after formally opening the art galleries in 1919; unfortunately Annie had been too ill to attend the ceremony that took place downstairs.
The Boudoir was usually a light room, often with a southerly aspect, and a bay or oriel window. The generous bay window in this room with its prime sea view confirms this. The Boudoir retained its original scheme until 1966 when the joinery, door, frieze, and screen were painted with white gloss and the walls papered. Fortunately the fireplace is in its original form and was not decorated with the rest of the room in the 1960s.
Paint analysis and work by conservators have enabled us to recreate the strong pink scheme and the stencils on the screen. Consequently, the Tynecastle frieze is now two tone, and the figures have been lifted from the background once again. The wall decoration was intact although ‘ghosting’ of the paper remains.
Click on the floorplan for the virtual tour to explore the Boudoir further.