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Overlooked Britain. Fit for the King of Scotland. By Lucinda Lambton

Travel | By Lucinda Lambton

The duke’s mausoleum (1852) by David Bryce: its 123ft-high dome produces a 15-second echo, one of the longest in the world

The Duke of Hamilton thought he was the rightful heir to the Scottish throne – and had his legs broken to fit inside his sarcophagus

Hail to the 10th Duke of Hamilton (1767-1852), a man of startling vanity and self-glorification. Alexander Hamilton thought that, as his ancestor had married the daughter of James II, he should rightfully be the King of Scotland. He was a figure of great renown as a dandy. He also felt a somewhat over-intimate connection with Napoleon and in 1811 commissioned no less an artist than Jacques-Louis David to paint The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries. This was just one of his treasures – a mere tip of the iceberg of his sensational acquisitions of art and artefacts of remarkable importance, with a collection that was famed worldwide. Having inherited a gigantic fortune from their Lanarkshire coalfields, he was as rich a man as could be found on this earth. He was determined to aggrandise his neoclassical pile on an epic scale. Hamilton Palace was to become famed...

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