A DRAMATIC new work of art depicting the Battle of Bannockburn, which dozens of real people have paid to be featured in, has been unveiled at the historic site.
More than 600 figures are featured in Chris Rutterford’s 30-metre long mural, on which he started work last summer in the run-up to the 700th anniversary of the battle.
Donors paid up to be £500 to be included in the painting and were asked to either strike a fearsome pose for the Edinburgh-based artist or send him photographs of them pretending to be in battle mode.
Visitors can try to spot celebrities like TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and Glasgow Warriors rugby star Alastair Kellock in the mural, which was partly created during a two-week live event at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh last summer.
It was completed earlier this year and has now been installed in the last few days in the central courtyard of the new Bannockburn visitor centre, which has attracted almost 87,000 visitors since it opened last March.
The centre uses 3D technology to allow people to relive the 1314 battle, when the Scottish king Robert the Bruce scored a decisive victory over Edward II and his English troops.
“Every time I look at it I see a different angle to it”Scott McMaster
Mr Rutterford’s mural is the latest work of art to be installed at Bannockburn, along with the iconic Bruce statue and the rotunda monument which marks the spot where he is said to have planted his standard.
The mural runs along the entire length of one wall, with another eight side panels creating a graphic novel-style effect around the courtyard. The National Trust for Scotland, which runs the centre and the battlefield, agreed to install the work of art in time for the 701st anniversary of the battle on 24 June.
Mr Rutterford, who raised more than £7,000 through his crowd-funding campaign, said he was originally inspired to create the work when he saw a mural of Bannockburn in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, painted by the 19th century artist Sir William Hole.
He added: “A lot of the Victorian paintings of Bannockburn tend to set the figures back a little bit and kind of let you off the hook. I really wanted the battle to be right up there and in your face.
“The first conversations I had about the mural were around the Christmas before the 700th anniversary with a storyteller, Calum Lykan. We ran the crowdfunding campaign last summer as a bit of call to arms. But right from the start I thought this would be the ideal home for it. Before the crowdfunding campaign, I came in and measured the walls. I kind of plotted that it would end up here.”
Only a handful of English troops are depicted in the mural, which features a number of members of the Clanranald Trust, the battle re-enactment group. Eagle-eyed visitors will be able to spot a cat that one donor requested to honour.
He added: “There are more than 600 figures in total, although I don’t know exactly how many as I’ve not counted them up yet. But all of the people in the mural are real people. We had 72 backers altogether, but some of them paid for a number of figures and there are whole families in there, including people who live in Australia or New Zealand.”
Centre manager Scott McMaster, who is depicted as an English knight, said: “At the time the new building opened we still had a few snagging issues, but it realy does lend itself to the space it’s in. Every time I look at it I see a different angle to it. It’s almost like a comic strip.
“Although it depicts a battle, and battles are bloody and brutal, this one is actually jovial. There are a few grimaces, but most of the people are smiling.”