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Chopin at Lord Torphichen's

 7 - 23 August 1848

After his stay at the Douglas Hotel, and with Dr Lyszczynski in Warriston Crescent, Chopin went to Calder House, at Mid Calder, twelve miles west of Edinburgh, near Livingston. 6 Calder House, which has been the seat of the Sandilands (later the Lords Torphichen) from 1350, was to be Chopin's principal residence among Scottish country seats.

Here, in 1556, John Knox is reputed to have celebrated holy communion for the first time in Scotland according to Presbyterian rites. The original L-plan house at Calder had been extended and altered several times, including the addition circa 1820 of a stair tower and a two-storey bow containing a staircase rising to the earlier Georgian front door. These features can be seen in two early-19th-century paintings of Calder by William Wilson, and along with later alterations circa 1880 in the views published by M'Call in The history and antiquity of the parish of Mid Calder of 1894. The former hall became a first-floor drawing room, retaining its large windows and handsome panelling, and it was here that Chopin may have entertained his hosts with informal recitals. The room still exists, its high windows offering fine views over the distant countryside.

 

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