A GRAFFITI mural painted on the exterior of a 13th-century castle in Scotland, which was voted one of the world’s greatest examples of urban art, is to come down to protect the fabric of the building.
The work of art at Kelburn Castle, in Ayrshire, which features a psychedelic series of interwoven cartoons depicting surreal urban culture, will be removed after engineers discovered that the cement coating on which it is painted is causing damage to the original castle walls.
They say the cement render, applied in the early 1960s, has created a build-up of moisture which is causing the original stonework beneath it to rot.
The Earl of Glasgow, Patrick Boyle, who owns the castle and the 4,000-acre estate in which it sits, has given the go-ahead for the removal of the painting as part of a £2.4 million investment project to capitalise on Kelburn’s success as a tourist destination.
The timing of the removal has yet to be finalised by the project management team, but is expected to be within the next year.
As well as including major restoration work on the castle, the project will involve the addition of a caravan park, an indoor pavilion and several new attractions for the country centre. Mr Boyle, whose family has occupied the castle for 800 years, said he was devastated that the mural will have to come down, but that his priority was maintaining the fabric of the building.
The painting was completed by a group of Brazilian graffiti artists commissioned by the Earl’s son and daughter, in 2007, at a cost of £20,000.
“No-one could have imagined how popular the mural has become,” Mr Boyle said. “It has generated global media coverage and visitors from all over the world have come to Kelburn to see for themselves how spectacular it is.
“But we had to decide what it best for the building and, sadly, that means the mural has to go. Unfortunately this season is likely to be its last so we would encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it already, or who wants to see it one last time, to come along.”
North Ayrshire Council agreed to suspend strict guidelines drawn up by Historic Scotland on what is permitted for historic buildings, on the understanding that the mural, which took 1,500 cans of enamel auto spray paint to complete, was a temporary feature, pending refurbishment work on the castle.
Last year it was named as one of the world’s top ten examples of street art by Tristan Manco, the designer and author and, as its popularity spread around the world, Mr Boyle wrote to Historic Scotland asking whether it might be allowed to remain indefinitely.
The agency said it would consider a temporary stay of execution for the mural to allow a full technical and cultural case to be prepared for its retention.
But following an inspection carried out earlier this year, building engineers discovered problems that required urgent attention.
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