Portrait of local laird for sale

The portrait of David Gavin of Gavinton and his first wife, Christine is being sold this week; it has an estimated value of �8,000-�12,000.
The portrait of David Gavin of Gavinton and his first wife, Christine is being sold this week; it has an estimated value of �8,000-�12,000.

A portrait of David Gavin from Gavinton and his first wife Christine is included in an Old Masters Sale at Bonhams this week.

Attributed to Edward Haytley, the portrait has an estimated value of £8-12,000.

David Gavin acquired the Langton estate in Berwickshire in 1758 and soon afterwards he had the main house and much of the original Langton village demolished. They were replaced by a new purpose built village of Gavinton (known initially as Gavinstown), named after the local laird.

There has long been debate about whether Gavin’s intention was to improve the efficiency of the estate and increase its agricultural output or whether he wanted to redesign the settlement so the workers houses were further away from the estate house. It is believed that he wanted his new house to overlook Langton Glen but the workers dilapidated cottages were a blot on the landscape.

Whatever his motives were, Gavin’s village remodelling resulted in better housing for the estate workers.

Around 20 houses were built, the village consisting of two straight roads with crossways round an open area where a market was supposed to take place. However, this never happened and the area became the village green.

Gavin and his first wife Christine, who died in 1767, had no children. However, he remarried Elizabeth, daughter of James Maitland the 7th Earl of Lauderdale in 1770 and their eldest daughter, Mary married the Earl (later Marquis) of Breadalbane in 1793.

In 1886 most of David Gavin’s home was demolished, the dining and morning rooms incorporated into the mansion designed by David Bryce for the Breadalbane owners.

In 2009 Gavinton celebrated its 250th anniversary with an exhibition in the village hall outlining the history of Langton and Gavinton, with many exhibits lent or donated by villagers and by members of the Gavin family. The 1780s plans of the village and estate were also on display, lent by Sandy Brownlie, the current estate owner.