history of Camperdown House


history of Camperdown House
Adam Duncan (1731 - 1804)
was born in Dundee, the third son of
Alexander Duncan, Provost of the city.
He was to become famous for his
Glorious Victory
at the Battle of Camperdown
on 11th October 1797
Joining the Navy aged fifteen, Duncan rose
swiftly and was a Captain by 1761.
This portrait by Reynolds dates from 1760.
[Courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland]
In 1795 Duncan was promoted to
Admiral of the Blue
and became the
of the North Sea Fleet.
Britain was at war with France
and The Netherlands.
Duncan’s fleet spent two years
blockading Holland. He had to
prevent the Dutch and French
from invading.
Duncan’s Flagship, the Venerable, was a
standard two-decker with 74 guns.
The Battle of Camperdown took
place in shallow waters just off
the Dutch coast.
The local people from the village
of Camperduin were able to
watch the action.
The Start of the Battle. The Dutch fleet with the striped
flags are drawn up in a line.
The British fleet breaks through the line in two places.
11th October 1797.
Breaking through the Dutch Line.
By the end of the battle the Dutch flagship had lost all three masts.
The British and Dutch fleets were fairly evenly matched, each with sixteen ships of
the line. The British had an overwhelming victory, capturing nine ships as prizes.
The Victory of Lord Duncan,
painted in 1799, by John Singleton Copley
[Courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland]
When the defeated Dutch
Admiral de Winter came on
board the Venerable, he
offered his sword as a token
of surrender.
Duncan refused it, saying,
“I would much rather take
a brave man’s hand
than his sword.”
After his Glorious Victory at the
Battle of Camperdown Duncan was
hailed as a Hero.
On 21st October, 10 days after the
battle, he was raised to the
peerage as Viscount Duncan of
Duncan was also awarded an annual
pension of £3,000, to himself and the
next two heirs to his title.
This was the biggest pension ever
awarded by the British government.
Duncan was awarded the
Large Naval Gold Medal
which features in the centre
of his coat of arms.
Seen also in the stained
glass ceiling in the Central
Ceramic souvenir busts
Creamware Jug, around 1798
Camperdown House was built between 1824 - 28 at the orders of
Admiral Duncan’s son, the 2nd Viscount.
Robert Dundas Duncan (1785 - 1859) was made the Ist Earl of
Camperdown in 1831 by King William IV.
The architect was William Burn of Edinburgh.
This was his finest neoclassical mansion.
Celebration of the Centenary of the Battle of Camperdown in 1897.
The Third Earl of Camperdown is in the centre
surrounded by sailors, cadets and Naval officers.
Lady Juliana Duncan, wife of the 2nd Earl,
was a society beauty and lady-in-waiting to
Queen Victoria.
The magnificent mile-long beech avenue was planted by 1860.
The 4th and last Earl of Camperdown died in 1933.
The last occupant was a cousin, Lady Buckinghamshire, who died in 1937.
In 1946 Camperdown Park
with the House
was purchased by Dundee
This view shows the suite
of rooms in the front of
the house.
1997 was the Bi-centenary of
the Battle of Camperdown.
This bronze statue of Duncan
was unveiled on 11th October
- an event organised by the
Friends of Camperdown