Newhailes House gets modern art makeover

Student Jessica Gasson's lawn stencil on the grounds of Newhailes House. Picture: Neil Hanna
Student Jessica Gasson's lawn stencil on the grounds of Newhailes House. Picture: Neil Hanna
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MIRRORED pyramids, a model dinosaur and an eruption of multi-coloured balls have been hidden around a 300-year-old stately home as part of a new art show.

Students, staff and graduates from Edinburgh College of Art were let loose at Newhailes House to add a burst of colour to the historic Georgian home.

Student Katie Strachan's work gives the illusion that a colourful ball pit has spilled into the formal setting. Picture: Neil Hanna

Student Katie Strachan's work gives the illusion that a colourful ball pit has spilled into the formal setting. Picture: Neil Hanna

Sculpture student Rachel McLennan’s mirror-clad pyramids will be placed throughout the house to represent traditional hierarchies in stately homes.

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A T-rex skeleton created by Kenny Hunter, director of the ECA sculpture programme, has been made in a deliberately unthreatening pose, its prehistoric menace diminished by extinction.

And student Katie Strachan’s work gives the illusion that a colourful ball pit has spilled into the formal setting.

Sculpture student Rachel McLennan's mirror-clad pyramids will be placed throughout the house to represent traditional hierarchies in stately homes. Picture: Neil Hanna

Sculpture student Rachel McLennan's mirror-clad pyramids will be placed throughout the house to represent traditional hierarchies in stately homes. Picture: Neil Hanna

A number of the artists involved were inspired by people that once inhabited the historic building.

Student Anna Vesaluoma’s decorative screen depicts scenes of servants working, while tutor David Moore and artist Kate Davus were inspired by former lady of the manor Christian Dalrymple.

In 1792, she was one of the few women to inherit a whole estate in her own right, yet there are no known portraits of Miss Dalrymple. She allegedly thought herself unattractive and only a silhouette survives.

David and Kate have created three life-sized silhouettes of her and placed them around the house’s exterior to give the impression that Miss Dalrymple is gazing out at visitors.

Jo Edwardson's yellow egg-shaped sculpture provides a flash of neon. Picture: Neil Hanna

Jo Edwardson's yellow egg-shaped sculpture provides a flash of neon. Picture: Neil Hanna

Student Jessica Gasson’s artwork is also on the grounds. Her huge lawn stencil – drawn with paint used to line football fields – mirrors decorative patterns from inside the house.

Jo Edwardson’s yellow egg-shaped sculpture provides a flash of neon in the dressing room.

And Keiran Mitchell’s piece plays with the idea of collecting in Newhailes’ now empty library – once home to one of the UK’s largest private book collection – which he has partially substituted with plants and bottles.

Further artworks on show include modern portraits painted on aluminium by student Lana Svirejeva and an interactive audio tour by recent ECA graduate David Haslam.

Mr Hunter said: “This partnership with National Trust Scotland has given us the unique opportunity to create site-specific work within a remarkable space – left largely untouched since the family left.”

Mark McLean, National Trust Scotland learning officer, said: “Newhailes was, from its inception, at the cutting edge of art and design and working through art with ECA has been a fascinating new chapter in that story.”

• Allied Antagonists is open to view by guided tour at Newhailes House Thursday to Monday from 12.30-3.30pm from 7 April - 30 October, and seven days a week in July and August. Tours can be booked via the Newhailes House website or telephone: 0131 653 5599. Tickets are free for NTS members and between £9 and £12.50 for the general public.

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