THE Duke of Buccleuch is one of Scotland's richest men and the country's biggest private landowner.

In a round-up of Britain's 300 richest people, the duke was ranked at 53rd, thanks to his (pounds) 405m art collection and 253,000 acres that provide him with a substantial income.

Drumlanrig Castle houses one of the finest private art collections in the UK. Built up by the dukes of Buccleuch and Queensberry, the collection includes works such as Rembrandt's Old Woman Reading and Holbein's portrait of Sir Nicholas Carew.

The paintings and other works, including pieces by Sir Godfrey Kneller and Thomas Gainsborough, are all on display in the principal rooms of the house.

The Madonna with the Yarnwinder was the pride of the family collection.

It was bought in Italy in the eighteenth century by the third Duke of Buccleuch and had only been conclusively identified as a work by the Renaissance master in 1986 following scientific tests.

The work has been dated at 1501 and was intended for Florimond Robertet, secretary to the King of France at the time, and shows the child holding the yarnwinder, shaped like a cross, said to symbolise the Passion and future death of Christ.

Drumlanrig Castle was built by William Douglas, 1st Duke of Queensberry, between 1679 and 1691, on the site of a fourteenth-century estate visited by King James VI. It has also played host to Bonnie Prince Charlie.

The family also owns Boughton House in Northamptonshire, dubbed the English Versailles and one of the great houses of Europe, Dalkeith Palace in Edinburgh and Bowhill House in Selkirk.