Five artists received some new year cheer when they were selected for free month-long residencies in newly-created studios at the magnificent Marchmont House.

Marchmont teamed up with Borders Art Fair to offer the residencies as a way to encourage and support the region’s artists.

The successful applicants, mostly from The Borders, will be the first visual artists to use the beautiful Tower Studio, which has been created thanks to the restoration and refurbishment of 19th-century outbuildings, set round a courtyard, at the mansion near Greenlaw.

Claire Beattie has been offered the first residency, in February, and will be followed by Gill Walton and Rebekah Tolley-Georgiou in March, then Rosemary Everett and Janet Cleghorn in April.

Frances Ferguson, Director of Borders Art Fair, said: “It’s wonderful to be able to start 2021 with something positive. 

“The arts and artists are having an incredibly tough time, and one of the big challenges they often face is having good quality studio space where they can work. 

“The chance of a free month’s residency at Marchmont House, in this gorgeous new studio, was very exciting and we had dozens of applications.”

While the Borders Art Fair team were forced to cancel the 2021 event, set to take place in March, due to the pandemic they developed the residency project with Marchmont as an alternative way to support artists.

Anthony Hughes Onslow, Marchmont’s General Manager, said: “It’s a real pleasure to work with Borders Art Fair to offer these residencies – we are absolutely dedicated to encouraging the arts in the Borders and across Scotland.

“We look forward to welcoming the first visual artists to the Tower Studio – which is the latest part of our Creative Spaces programme which is aimed at making Marchmont a home for artists, craft makers and creative businesses of all kinds.” 

Marchmont is working with a variety of organisations, including Visual Arts Scotland, to offer free residencies and – when Covid restrictions permit – run events at the estate. 

About the Tower Studio artists

Claire Beattie’s paintings are inspired by the landscape of the Scottish Borders landscape where she lives and works. Her paintings have been shown several times at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Glasgow Institute.  

She plans to use the residency to create a series of paintings based on the idea of her daily circuit, travelling from home to the studio and back again.  

Claire said: “I am excited to see how this way of working and a new daily environment can broaden directions in my work whilst utilising the abstract qualities of repetition and meditative practice that interest me.” 

Gill Walton and Rebekah Tolley-Georgiou met as undergraduates and have known each other for over 30 years. They aim to use the space to explore the theme of emerging from the global pandemic. 

Gill said: “As we move forward and the world is changing again I want to explore what that means now. A focussed period of time away from my usual studio space and clutter would give me an opportunity to take the drawing techniques developed during the pandemic and see where they may go and how to reflect the new world order. 

“As someone who is inspired by artists of the past and present I’ll particularly enjoy being surrounded by the art around Marchmont, for example the Anthony Gormley sculpture; Gormley also uses elemental materials in his drawings.”

Rebekah is an award-winning artist, educator and documentary filmmaker. She describes her work as interdisciplinary, mostly lens and sound based, involving the still and moving image, and audio soundscapes; often exploring how places feel.

Rosemary Everett combines collagraphy, wood engraving, letterpress and lino cuts with upcycled or vintage materials (packaging, maps and nautical charts) to create artist’s books that intrigue and entertain. 

Her work often celebrates Scotland’s unique colours and light. She will use the residency to develop and produce a hand-bound, small edition, artist’s book inspired by Marchmont House and its surrounding landscape. 

Janet Cleghorn, who used to work in the textiles industry, is now a Borders-based contemporary still life artist.

“To be based in the tower for a month would give me time to develop ideas and focus on my work in a way that has not really been possible since college. I would be especially keen to produce sketchbook work – drawing every day and building up lots of ideas for paintings. 

“It is a very special opportunity, both to be in the place and to be working alongside others. Being an artist can be solitary so to be surrounded by others would be a very positive experience.” 

– Ends –

Notes for Editors

About Marchmont

  • Marchmont House is a 1750 Palladian mansion near Greenlaw in the Scottish Borders.
  • It was awarded the 2018 Historic Houses/Sotheby’s Award following a seven-year restoration, which was described by the jury as “stunning”.
  • The house has one of the finest Georgian and Arts & Crafts interiors in Scotland.
  • It is open to the public for a limited number of days each year, for tours and special events. 
  • The Marchmont team is dedicated to bringing the house alive as a home for makers and creators, celebrating innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship
  • The Creative Spaces project is entirely privately funded by Marchmont Farms Limited and has not called on grants from the public sector or charities – which are facing immense demands for their limited resources.
  • The studios and workshops have been created by the conversion of a series of 19th-century outbuildings round a courtyard near the house and its spectacular walled garden.
  • The project’s value has already been demonstrated by the establishing of The Marchmont Workshop, which has saved the great 19th-century tradition of Arts & Crafts rush seated ladder back chairs for a new chapter in the Scottish Borders.
  • Visit www.marchmonthouse.com for more information.
  • For information about The Marchmont Workshop see https://themarchmontworkshop.com.

For media information contact Matthew Shelley at Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org or 07786 704299.