Colonel Murray Adams-Acton, F.I.R.A., F.I.A.L, F.R.S.A., 1886-1971
Addresses: 37 Palace Gate W8; Beach House, Combe Beach, Sussex.
Murray Adams-Acton, son of sculptor John Adams-Acton and authoress Marion Hamilton, was Gladstone’s godson. He trained with the decorating firm of White Allom, establishing his own business in the 1920s with Frank Surgey in London. The firm, Acton Surgey, specialised in architectural renovation and interior decoration, advertising in Connoisseur until the early 1940s. Major commissions included the refurbishment of Hutton Castle for Sir William Burrell, completed in 1927. Adams-Acton became an authority on art & architecture, contributing to journals and publishing Domestic Architecture and Old Furniture, 1929, and Portals and doorways of France (n.d.). He rejoined the army in 1940, appointed to a Commission in the Scots Guards and, while he was in Inverness, heard that his galleries at 3 Bruton Street were completely shattered. He recalled that ‘nothing was left, documents, tapestries etc., went up in smoke’. After the end of the war he worked as a dealer, his activities including acting as an agent for the National Magazine Company, handling the disposal of the contents of St Donat’s, following William Randolph Hearst’s death in 1951.
Published Sources: Who Was Who 1971-80, Vol 7, 1981, pp.6-7
Archive Sources: Glasgow City Council (Museums); Burrell Collection archive, letter, Adams-Acton to William Wells, 10.10.1958.