The Project

My ten year old self is sitting in the back of the car, travelling to receive an award for a national art competition. Daydreaming as I stare out of the window, I’m suddenly captivated by the vision of something extraordinary across the valley. A magnificent ruin peers out from the trees, its gothic spires fire-blackened and crumbling. “That would make an incredible Manderley” I say to my parents, mesmerised as we pass by.
Years later, and once again I am transfixed by the sight of the decaying house before me. Having been overcome by the sudden irresistible desire to seek out that elusive ruin from my memory, I now gaze through the windows of the dying shell as I traverse its overgrown perimeter. Inside I see another world waiting to be discovered, and can’t help but feel that I am experiencing some sort of homecoming.

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Since re-discovering the ruined mansion from my childhood that day in 2008 my life has been consumed by the exploration of Scotland’s forgotten country houses. The combination of sublime architecture and haunting atmosphere I experienced during that visit compelled me to seek out other such places, and I soon learned that the fate of this house was one shared by many others across the country.

My love of old buildings was cultivated from an early age, being brought up on a diet of ancient fortresses and keeps. But it is the relatively recent victims of abandonment which have come to hold a particular fascination for me. These once grand country seats represent an intriguing period in the social history of our nation, highlighting both the humbling transience of human presence and the awesome power of nature.

I often find it difficult to convey in words the powerful emotions these buildings inspire in me, so I choose to respond creatively. This practice has become second nature to me as I’ve been an artist at heart for as long as I can remember. My background in this field has focused primarily on drawing and painting, but I love utilizing a varied range of artistic media to express my ideas. I experiment with photography, printing, collage and 3D forms, and while these methods are diverse they are united in a common purpose. My object is to create a narrative and document a certain chapter in the histories of the houses I visit. The romantic aesthetic of dereliction is a strong aspect of what I do, but I also look to prompt contemplation on deeper ideas, and hope my work can be understood on different levels. The ultimate aim is not to campaign or judge, but simply to appreciate the fragile beauty still retained in these fading masterpieces.

This blog intends to establish an online reference for those interested in my work and who share my passion for what inspires it. For me, the subject of abandoned country houses is a constant source of stimulation and never fails to excite. Whether you’re a keen urbexer, architecture fanatic, avid historian or art enthusiast, I hope you will find something to interest you at Ruination Scotland.

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