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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Francis William Deas
Designation: Architect
Born: 1862
Died: 13 November 1951
Bio Notes: Francis William Deas was born in 1862 at Haslar, Hampshire, the son of Sir David Deas KCB MD RN, naval surgeon, and his wife Margaret Hepburn. He was a grandson of Francis Deas of Falkland. Sir David died in 1876 and his brother Lord Deas, a lawlord, assumed responsibility for Francis's education at Charterhouse and at Edinburgh University where he graduated MA. In 1890 Deas was articled to Robert Rowand Anderson, attending the School of Applied Art under Professor Frank Worthington Simon for three years. He left Anderson's office in 1896 and spent the following eighteen months travelling, spending his time chiefly on measured drawings. He commenced practice at 63 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, on his return home in 1897, sharing an office with another Anderson pupil, Victor Daniel Horsburgh. By 1902 he had moved to 15 Rutland Square with a house at 12 Magdala Place.

Deas and Horsburgh were both friends of Lorimer, whom Deas first met in 1893. From a letter of Lorimer's to Deas we learn that Lorimer joined in part of Deas's study tour, accompanying him on his visit to Norman Shaw's Dawpool, and that he persuaded Deas to become an architect rather than an interior decorator - presumably on the Scott Morton-Whytock and Reid model - as had been his original intention. After Dods emigrated to Australia, Deas became Lorimer's closest friend; both were musical and frequently went to concerts together. Deas also enjoyed travelling, walking, lawn tennis, squash and gardening. His practice was never extensive and depended on a few very rich clients of whom the most important was the Earl of Moray. His best work at Braehead, Fyndynate and Kellas has a refined Lorimerian arts-and-crafts quality.

Deas was nominated FRIBA by Lorimer, Harold Ogle Tarbolton and Alexander Hunter Crawford and admitted on 4 March 1907. Although he never married, in 1908-10 he built for himself The Murrel near Aberdour a remarkable pantiled Arts and Crafts house and garden on which Gertrude Jekyll is said to have advised, and received considerable publicity from its inclusion in Sir Lawrence Weaver's 'Small Country Houses of Today' and Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Lawrence Weaver's 'Gardens of Small Houses'. In 1915 he was obliged to sell it as his investments were mainly in Austria and Turkey and the practice was at a very low ebb. He then bought a house in Greenhill Gardens, Edinburgh where he lived for the remainder of his life.

Deas's finances recovered after the First World War as did his practice with a major reconstruction of Toward Castle for Andrew Coats in 1921-28. At the conclusion of the work there he became semi-retired, assisting Christopher Hussey with his study of Lorimer's work, a task the latter had inherited from Sir Lawrence Weaver. On 13 February 1931 he gave a paper at the RIBA on Lorimer's work, which was published in the RIBA Journal on 21 February 1931. Hussey acknowledged his debt to Deas in his biography of Lorimer, writing that Deas 'placed his knowledge, his house, and much time at my disposal in such a way that all were as delightful as invaluable,'

A pencil portrait of Deas at the piano by John Henry Lorimer records his slight build. He retired completely in 1937. In his retirement he gardened at Greenhill Gardens and took an interest in the careers of Lorimer's sons. Hew Lorimer remembered him as kind and affable…'enjoyed a joke - provided it was in good taste' and that he never had any regrets about having to give up The Murrel. 'I enjoyed doing it, and that was all that mattered to me… It did not have the same interest once the thing was done and the planting was as good as it could be.'

Deas died on 13 November 1951 in his eightieth year and in his obituary he is described as a landscape painter as well as an architect. His collection of T'ang pottery and other objets d'art were gifted to the Royal Scottish Museum.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 863, Frederick Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness18971902Shared with Victor Daniel Horsburgh
Item 2 of 815, Rutland Square, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1902  
Item 3 of 812, Magdala Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1902After 1907His mother's house
Item 4 of 823, Rutland Square, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1903c. 1924Shared with Victor Daniel Horsburgh
Item 5 of 8The Murrel, Aberdour, Fife, ScotlandPrivatec. 19081915 
Item 6 of 8House, Greenhill Gardens, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1915  
Item 7 of 8West Grange, Grange Loan, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate19261927 
Item 8 of 812, Greenhill Park, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate19271951Died here

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Wardrop & Anderson1890c. 1894Apprentice 
Item 2 of 2Wardrop & Andersonc. 18941896Assistant 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 9James Alexander Mawson Baxter1900Before 1911DraughtsmanBecame head draughtsman latterly
Item 2 of 9John Thomas Galletlyc. 1901c. 1901Junior Assistant 
Item 3 of 9John Ross McKay19031905Assistant(?) 
Item 4 of 9James Henderson19081913Apprentice 
Item 5 of 9Alexander Garden Forgie7 February 19091914Apprentice 
Item 6 of 9J Simpson FyfeEarly 1910Late 1912Assistant 
Item 7 of 9James Alexander Mawson BaxterBefore 19111923Manager 
Item 8 of 9Alexander Garden Forgie19141919AssistantWith the exception of war service, 1915-1919
Item 9 of 9Charles Edward Tweedie (junior)After 1918Before 1921AssistantLatterly Principal Draughtsman


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Alexander Hunter Crawford4 March 1907for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3(Sir) Robert Stodart Lorimer4 March 1907for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3Harold Ogle Tarbolton4 March 1907for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 8James Alexander Mawson Baxter4 March 1912for Associateship
Item 2 of 8Alexander Garden ForgieLate 1920 or early 1921for Associateship
Item 3 of 8J Simpson FyfeEarly 1916 or mid 1916for Associateship
Item 4 of 8Victor Daniel Horsburgh2 December 1912for Fellowship
Item 5 of 8John Ross McKayMid 1920for Associateship
Item 6 of 8Alec Nisbet1 March 1920for Associateship
Item 7 of 8Thomas Aikman Swan5 December 1910for Associateship
Item 8 of 8George Mackie Watson20 July 1911for Licentiateship

Buildings and Designs

This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 40 Gamekeeper's HouseDava Inverness-shireScotlandDate unknown
Item 2 of 40 Garden at TroonTroon AyrshireScotlandDate unknown
Item 3 of 401898DunlappieEdzell AngusScotlandDesign only, not mentioned in RIBA nomination papers
Item 4 of 401899The Elgin Arms HotelLimekilns FifeScotland 
Item 5 of 401900Apperley DeneStocksfield NorthumberlandEnglandAdditions (£5,000)
Item 6 of 401900Darnaway Castle  MorayshireScotlandAlterations including Dutch garden, gatepiers and interior works, restoration of Randolph's Hall
Item 7 of 401901Two double villasColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 8 of 401902HillsideCorstorphine EdinburghScotland 
Item 9 of 401902Kinfauns CastleKinfauns PerthshireScotlandAlterations, new stair, redecoration, walled garden, gatepiers, etc (£21,000)
Item 10 of 401902Newborough HallHexham NorthumberlandEnglandAlterations, remodelling and new powerhouse in the garden (£10,000)
Item 11 of 401904Kinfauns Castle, East LodgeKinfauns PerthshireScotlandsmall addition
Item 12 of 401904Tofthill FarmhouseKinfauns PerthshireScotland 
Item 13 of 40190523 Rutland Square  EdinburghScotlandRaised by one storey
Item 14 of 401905Braehead HouseSt Boswells RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 15 of 40190717, 18 Rutland Square  EdinburghScotlandAlterations, new top floor
Item 16 of 401907Hindley HallStocksfield NorthumberlandEngland 
Item 17 of 401907Hindley HouseStocksfield NorthumberlandEngland 
Item 18 of 401908The MurrelAberdour FifeScotland 
Item 19 of 401909Fyndynate HouseAberfeldy PerthshireScotlandRadical remodelling, virtually a new house with new interior work
Item 20 of 401910Balmerino Abbey  FifeScotlandRepairs and layout - in progress
Item 21 of 401910Cleeve GrangeBishop's Cleeve GloucestershireEnglandInternal remodelling, including chimneypieces
Item 22 of 401910Kinfauns CastleKinfauns PerthshireScotlandWalled garden work, gardener's house
Item 23 of 401911The King's CellarLimekilns FifeScotlandRestoration
Item 24 of 401912BroomhallLimekilns, Dunfermline FifeScotlandAdditions
Item 25 of 401912Hill HouseDunfermline FifeScotlandAdditions including installation of a room from Culross Abbey House
Item 26 of 401912House in Inverleith Gardens  EdinburghScotlandProposed - not executed
Item 27 of 401912The Little House, Inverleith TerraceInverleith EdinburghScotlandHouse and garden
Item 28 of 401913Donibristle House, east lodge  FifeScotlandAlterations, garden house, and other garden works
Item 29 of 401913Doune LodgeDoune PerthshireScotlandAddition
Item 30 of 401913Kellas HouseElgin MorayshireScotlandHouse
Item 31 of 401913Kellas HouseElgin MorayshireScotlandGate lodge
Item 32 of 401914Culross Abbey Church, new burial groundCulross FifeScotland 
Item 33 of 401918Darnaway Castle  MorayshireScotlandArts & Crafts veranda
Item 34 of 401919Aberdour Old Parish Church, War MemorialAberdour FifeScotland 
Item 35 of 401920Castle TowardToward ArgyllScotlandAdditions and reconstruction
Item 36 of 401921Castle Toward gatehouseDunoon ArgyllScotlandAlterations
Item 37 of 401923Archerfield  East LothianScotlandAlterations
Item 38 of 401923Devon Estate Cottages, Knightshayes EstateTiverton DevonEngland 
Item 39 of 4019241 Easter Belmont Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 40 of 401929St Columba's Parish ChurchBurntisland FifeScotlandRepairs - inlcuding stair on south side of gallery (with advice from Clouting, HMOW)


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3Post Office Directories     
Item 2 of 3Scottish Biographies1938  E J Thurston (pub.) 
Item 3 of 3Who's Who in Architecture1914    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder23 November 1951   
Item 2 of 4RIAS QuarterlyFebruary 195287Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)p43
Item 3 of 4RIBA JournalApril 1952 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary p230
Item 4 of 4The Times15 November 1951  p1 - deaths

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 5British Architectural Library, RIBARIBA Biographical Files  
Item 2 of 5DMW ArchiveFrancis Deas Notes by Simon Green  
Item 3 of 5National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSNMRS Photographic Archive Pencil portrait by J H Lorimer at Kellie, copied by NMRS. Acc No 2001/17
Item 4 of 5Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Personal recollections of Hew Lorimer and Alexander Dunbar
Item 5 of 5RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v18 p77 no1212 (microfilm reel 12)


© All rights reserved. © courtesy of RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk 

© All rights reserved. © courtesy of RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk