This rare early harpsichord is dated 1651 and was made by Andreas Ruckers, one of the few instruments that can be attributed to this grandson of Hans Ruckers who founded a family tradition of Harpsichord making in Antwerp that lasted from 1580 – 1680. It is remarkable because is so well preserved with the original decoration of painted marbling but also because the present action work is a rare possibly unique survival of Scottish instrument of about 1700. The original keyboard (51 notes) the music that can be played is limited to its perioed. A recital by Gerald Gifford can be heard in the house and a CD is available from the shop or online.
This was the main room of the original tower house – the oldest part of Traquair. The kings and queens of Scotland stayed here when they came on hunting trips, climbing the small winding stair behind the door in the corner. This was the only entrance until the tower was extended in the 1500’s. Mary Queen of Scots stayed here with her husband, Darnley and their baby James, who was to become King James VI of Scotland. He slept in the cradle at the foot of the bed. The bed itself had an interesting history as at some point the in the 1700’s it was used as a “mourning bed” and all the hangings were dyed black. The 19th Laird restored it to its original colour.