Painting for a Space – Sheildhill Castle

Map – I printed a medieval map and then extended the contours with paint for the entrance hall. Shieldhill is written as Scheelhil.

It’s wonderful to have the chance to make art for a particular space in this case Sheildhill Castle, Quothquorn near Biggar, here in Scotland.

Too often old buildings are over modernised internally, and although the outer walls tell you the age of the building, as soon as you go inside you could be in a modern building.

I think Shieldhill has achieved the blend of old and new well.

The tartan for the soft furnishings was designed for the castle by local mill Calzeat of Biggar.

For my part I aimed to think about the main feature in each room and highlight it through the artwork which all has a local twist.

The entrance with its ancient stone flags called for graphite grey pencil drawings. Each drawing tells a little local history, from the Grey Lady of Sheildhill, the castle’s ghost to ‘On Tintock Tap’ a traditional rhyme.

On Tinto Top there is a mist
And in that mist there is a kist
And in that kist there is a cup
And in that cup there is a drop
Take up that cup, drink of the drop
And set up camp on Tinto top

The art in the hall includes two large paintings of horses. I wanted to tie in the colours of the imposing wooden central staircase. Horses seemed apt as the Clydesdale Horse originates from this part of South Lanarkshire.

The panelled room contains paintings inspired by Medieval tapestries. The Medieval theme is in keeping with the age of the heart of the castle. The Tree of Life hangs over the fireplace flanked by owls.

In the dining room, with it’s beautiful exposed stone walls, hang a series of canvases based on the local landscape. One illustrates the expression ‘If Wishes Were Horses’ which was first recorded in the 1700’s by neighbour to Shieldhill, James Carmichael of Carmichael.

If Wishes Were Horses by Kirsten Harris

I loved the opportunity to create art for the castle. The new owners of Shieldhill have created a wonderful welcoming atmosphere, well worth a visit.

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

The Grey Lady of Shieldhill

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