Whisky Focus - Glenmorangie 20-tonne Pictish Masterpiece Takes the High Road

Glenmorangie 20-tonne Pictish Masterpiece Takes the High Road

3rd May  2013
After two years’ continuous carving, latest Barry Grove sculpture is transported 200 miles from Tain to The Glenmorangie Company’s new state-of-the-art bottling plant in Livingston.

A 20-tonne sculpture – commissioned by The Glenmorangie Company to stand outside its new bottling plant in Livingston as a permanent reminder of its Highland roots – has been transported by a low-loader lorry from Glenmorangie’s distillery in Tain.

Ross-shire-based Barry Grove – internationally regarded as one of the finest large stone sculptors working today – was asked by the company behind Scotland’s favourite malt whisky to create a sculpture which explored the country’s Pictish heritage.

Created over two years using only traditional hand tools, the sculpture explores the theme of re-discovery and depicts blowing leaves revealing a symbol of Pictish design and intricate knot-work, the origin of which dates back to 800AD.

The sculpture was carved from 300-million-year-old sandstone sourced from the area around Glenmorangie’s Tain distillery.

The public artwork stands two metres high and is just over three metres long, and is two-and-a-half times the size of his previous re-creation of the Hilton of Cadboll Stone, an eighth century Pictish Stone with incredible engravings which was discovered near the Glenmorangie Distillery in Ross-shire. This national icon is on permanent display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Barry Grove said: "I am passionate about creating pieces of public art that will last for generations. The sheer size and scale of this project has presented a real challenge but I wanted to stay true to the spirit of the enterprise by using traditional stonemason’s tools.

"Like Glenmorangie I am fascinated by our past, and creating this sculpture is all about rediscovering our connection with the Picts and Scotland’s early history. This sculpture brings the past to life."

Paul Skipworth, President and Managing Director of The Glenmorangie Company, said: "For The Glenmorangie Company, craft and heritage are essential to creating Scotland’s favourite single malt. We are very grateful to Barry for his hard work in creating this impressive sculpture.

"The Hilton of Cadboll Stone, originally found near the Glenmorangie Distillery, is a national treasure from this period and the inspiration for our company logo – the Signet – which proudly adorns our whisky bottles around the world. This new sculpture will be a notable landmark at our bottling plant at the Alba Campus in Livingston, and a permanent reminder of our Highland roots."

Grove is keeping alive the art of stonemasonry in Scotland using traditional tools and techniques. He is based near Tain in the Highlands, where many Pictish artefacts have been discovered and where Glenmorangie’s iconic single malt has been distilled since 1843.

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