A Stately Home for Sculpture

A special event celebrating modern Scottish sculpture and featuring internationally renowned speakers from the arts world is to be held at one of the finest stately homes in Scotland. Exploring Modern Scottish Sculpture at Marchmont House, on 21 September, also offers the chance to see one of Britain’s finest collections of modern sculpture from across the UK. Artists, ‘art experts’ and industry leaders will gather at the mid-18th century Palladian mansion in the Borders to consider what Scottish sculpture stands for, and to shine a light on the giants like Eduardo Paolozzi, William Turnbull and Gerald Laing. They will also uncover hidden stories and offer their support for the new generation of talented sculptors working in Scotland today. Those taking part include Scottish artists David Mach RA and Kenny Hunter, several senior curators and academics such as Bill Hare and Alice Strang, and visual and performing arts champions Andrew Patrizo and Richard Demarco.

David Nash ,  Three Knobbers , installed at Marchmont House. Photo: Colin Hattersley

David Nash, Three Knobbers, installed at Marchmont House. Photo: Colin Hattersley

No stranger to Marchmont House is the British sculptor and land artist David Nash who works predominantly with natural materials and live trees, and is known for his use of heavy equipment has produced a varied body of work in which he explores the relationship between humankind and nature and has direct, physical connection with his chosen material: wood. After the success of the ALIGHT exhibition at the RSA in early 2019, a conversation took place between Hugo Burge, Director of Marchmont House and President of Visual Arts Scotland, Andrew MacKenzie. The concept of an event that focussed on wood led to Conversations in Wood, the inaugural event at the venue, aimed at promoting Scottish creativity. Running from 3-5 August, the event featured some of the leading names in contemporary art and making, with a display of works, talks, films and dialogue. 

David Nash  (Photo: courtesy of Scottish Festivals PR).

David Nash (Photo: courtesy of Scottish Festivals PR).

Nash was one of eighteen artists and makers who took part. With a lifetime retrospective of his work showing in Cardiff and work already at Marchmont, Nash screened an updated film on his River Boulder art project and give a talk on what wood means to him. Joining him were Borders based sculptor, Charles Poulsen as well as furniture maker Adrian McCurdy, both of whom have works already featured in the permanent collection at the stately home, too. Further to this was a film preview of the acclaimed maker Sebastian Cox, who is said to be creating a stir with his experimental and environmentally friendly approach to making.

Hugo Burge . Photo: Colin Hattersley

Hugo Burge. Photo: Colin Hattersley

Made possible thanks to a partnership with Edinburgh based UK fine art auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull, Hugo Burge, hopes that the 18th century Palladian mansion near Greenlaw, will become a centre for celebrating makers and creators alike. As Burge has stated: 

‘We are really looking forward to welcoming visitors to Marchmont House to meet, and see work created by some of the very best in contemporary wood makers today – including local hidden talents of the calibre of Charles Poulsen to figures with an international reputation like David Nash, Eleanor Lakelin and Sebastian Cox.’  Burge went on to say:‘Wood is such an amazing material and source of inspiration for a diverse range of artists that it gives us a plentiful canvas for inspiration, discussion and learning. This partnership with Lyon & Turnbull, and the support of our other partners, will help us to do that. I believe that it’s hugely important to promote creativity in Scotland as a way of celebrating our artistic achievements and in order to create an environment in which our artists and makers can thrive in years to come.’

Charles Poulsen . Photo: Colin Hattersley

Charles Poulsen. Photo: Colin Hattersley

The recently restored Marchmont House is now hosting a year long series of events and will additionally see contributions from Andrew MacKenzie, Laurence Neal, Lucilla Sim, Thomas Hawson, Isabelle Moore, Angus Richardson, Anthony Bryant, Roland Fraser, Beth Legg, Naomi Mcintosh, Angus Ross, Eleanor Lakelin, Edward Teasdale, Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley. 

This collaboration with Visual Arts Scotland, The Scottish Gallery and Craft Scotland has at it’s heart, an exhibition which will be showcasing contemporary makers using wood within their creative practice and encompassing the Scottish border regions, central and northern Scotland and beyond. Moreover, there will be eight artists and makers that will give talks about their relationships with the wood they sculpt, carve and shape, as well as films that highlight the unique journeys associated with creating with wood.


A Celebration of Scotland’s Finest Modern Sculpture at Magnificent Marchmont House

Sat, 21 September 2019
09:15 – 18:45 BST

Marchmont House
Greenlaw 
Duns 
TD10 6YL 

Tickets (£55 – £75)
Available at a range of prices for each event through Eventbrite.