Art in the Gardens
Permanent and semi-permanent sculptures and installations across all four Gardens combine with events and exhibitions to illuminate our core work for visitors.
At the Edinburgh Garden, look out for one of the earliest and most prominently sited acquisitions of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art at RBGE.
Reg Butler’s cast bronze sculpture Girl (1957–8) was a memorable feature of the pond outside Inverleith House – the Gallery of Modern Art’s founding home - from 1960 to 1984. Purchased in 1962, the sculpture was returned to its original location adjoining Inverleith House and the surrounding Garden in the early 21st century.
Two bronze sculptures,
Ascending Form (Gloria)
and Rock Form (Porthcurno), by the sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth can also be found thanks a reciprocal arrangement with the National Galleries of Scotland.
Haus Wittgenstein/Inverleith House by Alan Johnston dates from 1995. The materials are beeswax, charcoal and varnish on stone and the piece is on permanent loan from the artist
The Bute Memorial Bench was commissioned by Lady Bute as a memorial to her husband John, Sixth Marquess of Bute. Crafted by Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley, it was installed in 2006. John had strong ties to RBGE and on the Board of the Younger (Benmore) Trust for over 26 years. His garden at Mount Stuart was also established as the first ‘network’ garden as part of the International Conifer Conservation programme – the RBGE-based initiative to establish a ‘seed bank’ for threatened conifer species.
Casting the shadow of the sun, "Umbra Solis", the Sundial by Ian Hamilton Finlay is testament to a long and respectful relationship between the Garden and the artist until his death in 2006.
Created from Cumbrian slate, Slate, Hole, Wall was conceived by sculptor, photographer and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy who worked on the 1990 piece with waller Joe Smith. Ballachulish slate was used for Cone, a second sculpture created for the Garden in 1990.
Crafted from steel in the heat of a forge, Hammered Steel, Reflected Glory is a set of gates at the top of the east drive best appreciated when the early morning sun is reflecting off the bright steel from which they were skillfully crafted. Look at the detail in the leaf and admire the leaf trusses with flower bud. From the workshop of blacksmith Alan Dawson, and designed by architect Benjamin Tindall, it was commissioned by the Friends of the Garden and installed in 1996.
Last but by no means least, the dignified Linnaeus Monument was designed by the great Robert Adam and crafted, in 1779, in Craigleith Sandstone with a marble plaque. It was a year after the death of Linneaus, the " Father of Taxonomy" when Regius Keeper of the Scottish Enlightenment John Hope had it commissioned, at his own expense, as a lasting testament to his regard for Linnaeus. It originally stood in the garden at Leith Walk, RBGE's third site, after St Anne's Yards, at Holyrood, and Trinity Hospital on the Nor' Loch, now the site of Platform 11 at Waverley Station.
National Galleries of Scotland
The Regional Gardens
Each of RBGE's Regional Gardens has its own style and these unique personas are reflected in their relationships with artists and works they have created with Benmore, Dawyck and Logan in mind.
Art takes many forms and Benmore's former glory as a grand estate is represented magnificently in the refurbished Grade-A listed Golden Gates commissioned by James Duncan and crafted in Berlin for the 1878 Paris Universal Exhibition. It is from this period that we also inherit the unique and gloriously restored Victorian fernery and also the much-photographed bronze statue A boy with two dolphins, dating back to 1875.
Through the ages at Benmore artistic innovation has taken the form of the sadly-gone grand art galleries to Puck's Hut, designed by Sir Robert Lorimer in memory of RBGE Regius Keeper and King's Botanist in Scotland, Isaac Bailey Balfour. The Garden also remembers Bayley Balfour's successor, William Wright Smith, with the Viewpoint memorial. On much smaller scale is the armillary sphere commemorating Harold Fletcher, Regius Keeper from 1956 to 1970. Bringing us right up-to-date, lookout for the stunning collection of carved structures by local craftsman Guy Elder.
Also part of a former estate, Logan's heritage is seen in the proliferation of ornamental stonework, today neatly complimented by modern yet sympathetically crafted cairns.
Dawyck enjoys the presence of Italian stonework linking garden terraces and woodland paths. This was - in the main - commissioned by Sir John Naesmith, a former owner of the Garden, who was also responsible for the ornamental urns which are another eye-catching addition.
A bronze cast heron stands on the banks of the Scrape Burn in memory of Professor Douglas Mackay Henderson, a pre-eminent Scottish botanist and mycologist of the 20th century. Twelfth Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, from 1970 to 1987, Professor Henderson, CBE and FRSE died in Inverness in November 2007. The sculpture by Elizabeth Macdonald Buchanan is also a nod to Heron Wood, the world’s first cryptogamic sanctuary and the historic site of King James IV’s heronary during his fifteenth century reign. Herons nested at Dawyck until 1968 when a fierce hurricane ripped through central Scotland, flattening trees on which they relied.
Crafted from a one ton piece of Portland limestone, Gentle Presence was created by Susheila Jamieson to portray a sense of movement and calming energy. Now installed in the centre of the 25 hectare woodland garden overlooking the Scrape Burn and Dawyck’s tallest trees, it can be enjoyed by over 30,000 people who visit each year.
The trunks of trees, felled at Dawyck are now being granted new leases of life as sculptures, one representing David Douglas the intrepid adventurer who contributed hugely to the make-up of Britain’s gardens and woodlands, before coming to a mysterious end at the bottom of a bull pit in Hawaii. In another, a section of beech has been carved into a First Nations figure, representative of people of North America and British Columbia. The sculpture, which stands about eight feet tall, celebrates the Garden’s collection of trees that are native to North America.
- All what's on
- What's On at Dawyck
- What's On at Edinburgh
- What's On at Logan
- What's On at Benmore
- What's On in the Regional Gardens
- Art and Culture
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- Inverleith House
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- Edinburgh Science Festival
- Scottish Rhododendron Festival
- Scottish Snowdrop Festival