Residents of Scottish Highland town to decide future of £2.5m sculpture once used as a doorstop
A consultation will now help determine the future of the bust of Sir John Gordon, a MP and wealthy landowner who gave his name to Invergordon. The piece was found 25 years ago propping open the door of a council shed in Balintore, Easter Ross.
The sculpture was bought by Invergordon Town Council for £5 in 1930, but its whereabouts were unknown for several decades.
A mystery overseas buyer has offered £2.5 million for the bust, with Bouchardon’s other works found at the Palace of Versailles and the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Councillor Maxine Smith, independent councillor for Cromarty Firth, who found the bust, said the sale could put an estimated £150,000 a year into the common good fund for Invergordon.
Some art historians have said the sculpture, which is the only known Bouchardon in Scotland, should go on show either in Edinburgh or Inverness.
Councillor Smith said a sale to the mystery buyer would include a replica being made for Invergordon Museum while providing ongoing income for the town’s common good fund.
She said: “At the moment it is in storage and no one sees it. To me, it is of no value if no one can see it. I think it is Invergordon’s decision and if Invergordon decides it should go to the National Museum of Scotland, we can do that, but I don’t see how that benefits Invergordon.
"To me you keep something for a rainy day. Invergordon’s rainy day is now and we need that money to make things better in Invergordon now.”
She added: “I did expect that people with art as a main interest would want to keep it in Scotland, but they have to think of who owns this – and it is Invergordon.” The results of the consultation will be known early next year.
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