Skaill House was the venue for a tribute to the remarkable Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron and pioneer of the principles upon which modern computing is based.
She was born 200 years ago this year, and lived only 37 years, but brought together mathematics with vision and understanding, and also some of the passion with which her father brought to his life and work.
”Forget this world and all its troubles and if possible its multitudinous Charlatans – ” declared her collaborator, the mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage, “ – everything in short but the Enchantress of Numbers.”
The story of Ada Lovelace – this year’s Dr John Cumming Memorial Lecture – was told in the upstairs drawing room at Skaill House, with Sarah Jane Gibbon giving the readings and singing Isaac Nathan’s setting of Byron’s poem ‘She Walks in Beauty’.
Then followed in the dining room downstairs a Georgian-themed afternoon tea, produced by Liz Ashworth and her team. There were Peedie Bread Baps with spiced potted Orkney Buffalo, Chicken Salmagundi with a hint of lemon, apricot scones with cream and raspberry conserve, apple custard tarts ‘lovelaced’ with a dram of Highland Park – and much more.
This year is also an anniversary for Skaill House. It is exactly 400 years since its builder, Bishop George Graham, came to Orkney.