Upcoming Talk at Mellerstain

In conjunction with my current exhibition, In Stately Silence, I will be delivering an illustrated talk in the gallery at Mellerstain House on Saturday 10th September at 2pm.

This presentation will chart the development of my 8-year project recording derelict mansions across Scotland, featuring a number of the ruins I have explored and offering an insight into the artworks they have inspired, with a chance to view the show afterwards.

Admission free – reserve your place to avoid disappointment as spaces are filling up fast. Email: enquiries@mellerstain.com Tel: 01573 410 225

Talk Invitation

The Dream

Last night I dreamt of a ruin.

Not only does my fascination with ruins pervade the waking hours of my life, so too it occasionally seeps into those intoxicating night time wanderings of my subconscious. During my latest slumberous hours I slipped into that realm of intrigue, and found ruination pervading my nightly thoughts.

The peeling white harling of a familiar decrepit highland hunting lodge beckoning from the distance, part hidden by a small cluster of evergreens as I stepped across stones in a dancing stream. My mind had conjured the most glorious summer’s day, with gentle sunlight beaming down and warming my skin, dancing across the surface of the bubbling water in shimmering figurations as I took my own steps across its course. I felt a great sense of contentment, and resolution to reach the building I remembered fondly. Yet before I could cover any further distance towards the ruin beyond, the fleeting moment vanished. Continue reading

Bringing Back Balintore

In rural Angus the hands of time are being turned back.

Decay is frozen, ruination stopped in its tracks,as the murmurings of restoration revive Balintore Castle from its fifty year slumber.

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For those unaware, Balintore Castle is a Grade A listed mansion designed by eminent Victorian architect William Burn. Built in 1860 and abandoned 100 years later, silence prevailed over its empty halls for half a century. Now signs of life are once again present, heralding a most welcome renaissance for this spectacular showpiece.

The current works come at the hands of David Johnston, the castle’s latest owner and champion of its revival. His ongoing restoration adventures are charted in his own entertaining blog – Balintore Castle Restoration Project – which is well worth a read. To my delight, a long-held dream of mine was realised when David kindly accepted my self-invitation to lend a hand in proceedings at the castle last year. Continue reading

A Prospective Perspective

While flicking through the most recent addition to my bookshelf, volume 10 from the 1896 editions of Academy Architecture, I was thrilled to behold this previously unseen prospective view of Milkbank House among its pages.

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The Predecessors

During my stay at Auchinleck House earlier this year, a trek through the grounds brought me to the crumbling ivy strewn remains of the Old Place of Auchinleck.

The Old Place of Auchinleck

This tower house was built in 1612 and served as the seat of the Lairds of Auchinleck before being superseded by the newer 18th Century mansion. It had itself replaced the yet more ancient Auchinleck Castle which had already fallen into disrepair by the 17th Century, its site now marked by only a few remaining stones.

  

I was interested to see this line of succession still visibly traceable upon the ground, bearing witness to the different sites where generations of the Boswell family had built their homes over the centuries. It put me in mind of what older structures may have stood before the ruined mansions I’m familiar with, and what became of these outmoded predecessors. Continue reading