Artworks shape up nicely

Alexandra Philip
Alexandra Philip

KELLIE Castle, near Pittenweem, was the home and workplace of one of Scotland’s foremost sculptors of the 20th century, so it was a fitting setting for a series of sculpture workshops, reports SHEONA SMALL.

Pupils from Waid Academy in Anstruther, Bell Baxter High School in Cupar and Madras College in St Andrews were all given one-day taster sessions under the expert instruction of Fife-based professional sculptor Kenny Munro.

A workshop on the final day was also open to the public.

It was the ninth year that the event had been organised by the National Trust for Scotland, which owns the castle and gardens.

“We’re very keen to use the arts as a way of promoting our conservation message and what better place to hold sculpture workshops than at Kellie in space where sculptor Hew Lorimer lived and worked,” said Sandra Morrison, learning manager for the trust.

Many of Lorimer’s most prominent large-scale works are a commanding presence across the country, from a series of seven figures he created for the outside of the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh to a 30ft-high white granite statue of Our Lady of the Isles on South Uist.

Lorimer is credited with the second restoration of the castle and there is a permanent exhibition on his life and work at Kellie.

He died in St Andrews in 1993 at the age of 86.

“Working here provides a direct historical link to Hew Lorimer and even the buildings and architecture can be an inspiration,” said Kenny Munro.

“The workshops let young people experience working in three dimensions with clay but also show them that working as a professional sculpture is an option.

“But even if we just inspire someone to buy some clay and have a go at home, then it has been a success.”

Waid art teacher William Revolta said it was a fantastic opportunity to work with the trust and Kenny Munro and provided an experience that could not be offered in the normal school day.

A setting steeped in history with a strong artistic legacy

KELLIE Castle is a Jacobean tower house largely dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, although the first record of Kellie is from 1150.

In 1613 it was bought by Sir Thomas Erskine, a childhood friend of James VI, who made him Earl of Kellie. It’s said Erskine had saved the life of the King during an assassination attempt and the King stayed at Kellie in 1617 during his only visit to Scotland after the Union of the Crowns in 1603.

It was abandoned early in the 19th century before Professor James Lorimer, the father of reknowned architect Sir Robert Lorimer, took it on as a restoration project in the 1870s and members of the Lorimer family stayed in Kellie as tenants until the sculptor Hew Lorimer bought the castle in 1948.

In 1970 the castle and gardens were sold to the National Trust for Scotland. Both are open to the public, as is a permanent exhibition of Hew Lorimer’s work and studio in the old stables.

Highlights of the castle include magnificent plaster ceilings and painted panels, furniture designed by Sir Robert Lorimer and a long concealed mural by Arts and Crafts artist Phoebe Anna Traquair.

For more information visit the National Trust for Scotland’s website

Budding artists given the heads-up on sculpting

“I based mine on my little sister and while I was working on it, it just seemed right to have her tongue sticking out. ”


“I wanted to do a head that was based on Johnny Depp - I got some really useful input and I’ve really enjoyed the day.”


“Mine is based on a picture of Twiggy - it’s been different and I’d love to do more of this one day.”


“I like dogs and had brought in a sketch of a dog and used that for making a wolf’s head. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out - and it’s much better than sitting in class!”


“I knew I wanted to do my dad so I brought photographs to work from and, while I’ve worked with clay before, it was good to get help with things like eyes, which can be very difficult.”