Bute Force


Going incognito, he became a Formula One driver, but now the Marquess of Bute is back home, running Mount Stuart, his astonishing ancestral estate in Scotland.

Photographer: Alexia S

Johnny and Serena, the Marquess and Marchioness of Bute, with daughter Lola, in the dining room, surrounded by family portraits by Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough and others.

Photographer: Alexia S

The drawing room. Home to his family for 700 years, the property became Bute’s in 1993, upon the death of his father, the 6th Marquess. Bute’s great-great-grandfather, the 3rd Marquess, who was widely considered the richest man in Britain during his lifetime, started work on the red sandstone palace in 1880.

Photographer: Alexia S

The centerpiece of the house is a three-story marble hall with an 80-foot ceiling. Its colonnades, stained-glass windows and vaulted ceiling are decorated with stars and planets, reflecting the 3rd Marquess’s interest in astrology.

Photographer: Alexia S

A private library.

Photographer: Alexia S

Before returning to the family seat when his father became ill in the early Nineties, Bute enjoyed a winning career as a Formula One race-car driver, using the name Johnny Dumfries to hide his origins. (He became the British Formula Three champion in 1984, driving Formula One in 1986, and winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1988.)

Photographer: Alexia S

The Billiard Room.

Photographer: Alexia S

The Family Bedroom, as it is known, was the bedroom of the wife of the 3rd Marquess. A frieze running around the room depicts scenes from the life of St. Margaret, the 11th-century Scottish queen.

Photographer: Alexia S

The Blue Bedroom was recently restored, a project spearheaded by Johnny’s wife, Serena, a former model who’s now a fashion designer. Fabrics were supplied by London antiques dealer Rose Uniacke, and the historically accurate painting of the walls was done by Charlotte Ingle, an alumna of the Royal College of Art in London.