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Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games sculptor teams up with National Trust for Scotland

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Sculptor Robert Coia’s new installation is in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland at Brodick Castle, Arran

National Trust
The apple sculpture carved from oak has been installed on the lawn of the walled garden

Calling all art lovers and sculptors alike – a new piece of immersive work has landed at Scotland’s Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran.

Sculptor Robert Coia created the apple sculpture with the National Trust for Scotland to celebrate the castle’s walled garden past when it functioned as a kitchen garden. Created using timber from fallen oak trees within the castle grounds, the sculpture is intended to encourage visitors to explore the garden in a different way.

Robert said, “I’m really pleased to see the finished sculpture find its home in the walled garden at Brodick Castle. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to work with the timber from the fallen oak as it provided an excellent material to work with.

“The curved nature of the apples was a challenge, but I’m delighted with the outcome and the opportunity for it to be enjoyed by visitors long into the future.”

National Trust

The apple sculpture takes pride of place in the walled garden to celebrate its former function as a kitchen garden and tree nursery between 1710 – 1860, before it was turned into a formal pleasure garden in the nineteenth century.

The conservation charity commissioned the sculpture to create a focal point within the lawned area of the walled garden to encourage visitors to admire the planting and sundial centrepiece from further angles, and take in the stunning view over Brodick Bay from the oldest parts of the garden.

Sculptor Robert Coia, who served his apprenticeship with Arran-based sculptor Marvin Elliot over 30 years ago and created several large-scale sculptures including that of the official mascot Clyde for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games in 2014, took around nine weeks to complete the piece.

Timber was transported from the grounds of the castle to Robert’s studio in High Corrie on the Isle of Arran, where he created the impressive wood carving.

National Trust
Robert with his apple sculptor, as it was installed in Brodick Castle

Tim Keyworth, National Trust for Scotland’s gardens and designed landscape manager, Ayrshire and Arran, said, “We’re delighted with the new apple sculpture Robert has created, it looks fantastic and the team at Brodick are excited to welcome visitors to the walled gardens to see the stunning sculpture in place.

“The new addition complements the recent planting of apple trees, grown to a framework that edge the lawns and entice visitors to explore the gardens further.

“Alongside the new apple sculpture, we have also commissioned Robert to create a new installation inspired by peaches that will further enhance the walled garden and is expected later in the year. It’s thanks to the generous support of our members and donors that we’re able to create areas of interest in our gardens and continue to care for and protect our special places, such as Brodick.”

Visitors to Brodick can enjoy the new apple sculpture within the walled gardens of the castle’s estate alongside other activities, including the Silver Garden Trail and Plant Hunters’ Walk. Younger visitors can explore the castle’s grounds and woodlands on the new Fairies and Legends Trail or go wild in the Isle Be Wild adventure playground.

Brodick Castle, Garden and Country Park, the only island country park in the UK, is teeming with history. The main castle building was constructed in 1844, however, the ancient seat of the Dukes of Hamilton is thought to date back centuries.

Its strategic position overlooking the Firth of Clyde made it a formidable fortress in its time, but now, Brodick offers a more serene experience for those wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of the mainland.

Art installations such as the apple sculptures at Brodick Castle, contribute to the Trust’s strategy to deliver nature, beauty and heritage for everyone. The 10-year strategy, unveiled in 2022, refocuses its vision of caring for, sharing, and conserving Scotland’s heritage.

Read more on the National Trust for Scotland’s website.

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