FP100: No. 10

Giant irises, Glenrothes.
Giant irises, Glenrothes.

Giant irises, Glenrothes

Prominently located on a roundabout beside Leslie Road, the giant irises sculpture rises up and stands proud, bringing a splash of colour to the Glenrothes area.

The irises were devised and constructed in steel and fibreglass by then Town artist, Malcolm Robertson especially for Glenrothes’ entry into the annual Glasgow Garden Festival held in 1988.

The flower sculpture caused a stir and was widely admired by judges and other contestants at the Garden Festival.

The irises took home the coveted John Brown Clydebank award for the ‘Most Amusing Artefact’ at the festival and subsequently moved to their current site in late 1989.

The sculpture has been adopted in many Glenrothes logos and promotional publications since.

Glenrothes was one of the first places across Scotland to appoint a town artist and some of the other art works were constructed on a large scale at considerable cost.

A spirit of collective enterprise driven by a range of social ideals was brought to life through the pioneering appointment of a “Town Artist” by the Glenrothes Development Corporation in 

Glenrothes then created a blue print for other towns across the country to follow in terms of scuplture and artwork that reflects the history and change of the town and its people.

Glenrothes has a distinctive and diverse collection of public art, including dancing children, stone hippos and a flock of birds sculpture, within a carefully planned urban landscape, dating from as far back as 1965 to the present day.

Often taking the history of the area as its inspiration, the art helps to define the identity of the town.

In 2010, Historic Scotland undertook a study of the public art of Glenrothes.

The study has highlighted the importance of Glenrothes in the story of Scotland’s public art.

The town is full of different sculptures and artwork and this light-hearted and bright work plays effectively with ideas of scale.

The giant irises which you simply can’t miss became a natural successor to Glenrothes’ giant concrete mushrooms which were also created during the 1970s by resident town artist Malcolm Robertson .

The giant colourful iris flowers remain a distinctive landmark.