The Story of Scottish Art episode 1: In the first programme, Lachlan explores Scotland’s earliest art. He visits the Ring of Brodgar in Orkney, where standing stones have watched the seasons pass for thousands of years. On the island of Westray he encounters an ancient figurine – the Westray Wife – the oldest sculpted human figure in the British Isles. He explores the sophisticated art of the Picts and the Gaels, the exuberant Renaissance period of the early Stewart kings, and the destructive heights of the Reformation, when religious artworks were all but wiped out in Scotland.
In a four-part series, artist Lachlan Goudie traces the development of Scottish art from the Neolithic Era to the present day, and looks at its impact on the international art world. The story of Scottish art and its impact on the international art world is celebrated in this four-part series presented by acclaimed artist Lachlan Goudie. The series spans 5,000 years of Scotland’s history, from the earliest Neolithic art to the present day.
The Story of Scottish Art episode 1
Ring of Brodgar
The Ring of Brodgar (or Brogar, or Ring o’ Brodgar) is a Neolithic henge and stone circle about 6 miles north-east of Stromness on Mainland, the largest island in Orkney, Scotland. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.
The Ring of Brodgar (or Brogar, or Ring o’ Brodgar) is a Neolithic henge and stone circle in Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. It is the only major henge and stone circle in Britain which is an almost perfect circle. Most henges do not contain stone circles; Brodgar is a striking exception, ranking with Avebury and Stonehenge among the greatest of such sites. The ring of stones stands on a small isthmus between the Lochs of Stenness and Harray. These are the northernmost examples of circle henges in Britain.
Unlike similar structures such as Avebury, there are no obvious stones inside the circle, but since the interior of the circle has never been excavated by archaeologists, the possibility remains that wooden structures, for example, may have been present. The site has resisted attempts at scientific dating and the monument’s age remains uncertain. It is generally thought to have been erected between 2500 BC and 2000 BC, and was, therefore, the last of the great Neolithic monuments built on the Ness. A project called The Ring of Brodgar Excavation 2008 was undertaken in the summer of that year in an attempt to settle the age issue and help answer other questions about a site that remains relatively poorly understood. The results of the excavation are still preliminary.
The Westray Wife (also known as the Orkney Venus) is a small Neolithic figurine, 4 centimetres (1.6 in) in height, carved from sandstone. It was discovered during an Historic Scotland dig at the Links of Noltland, on Westray, Orkney, Scotland, in the summer of 2009. It was the first Neolithic carving of a human form to have been found in Scotland, and to date it is the earliest depiction of a face found in the United Kingdom.
A second figurine of about the same size and shape as the Westray Wife, but made from clay, and missing its head, was discovered by archaeologists at the same Links of Noltland site during the summer of 2010. This figurine, 3.4 centimetres (1.3 in) in height, has a rectangular panel decorated with triangles on the front of its torso, which may represent a tunic, and a punched hole in the centre of its stomach. A number of small clay balls have also been discovered at the site, and it is possible that these were intended for use as heads for similar figurines. A third figurine was discovered in 2012.
Lachlan Goudie – The Story of Scottish Art episode 1
Lachlan Goudie was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1976, the son of Scottish figurative painter Alexander Goudie. He was educated at the Kelvinside Academy, after which he studied English Literature at Cambridge University. Following this, he was awarded the Levy-Plumb scholarship of a year’s painting residency at Christ’s College, Cambridge.
Goudie was awarded the R. S. P. Prize for painting at the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts in 1999, and the N. S. MacFarlane Prize at the Royal Scottish Academy in 2001. He studied at the Camberwell College of Arts and is a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters.
He has presented the television programmes Secret Knowledge: The Art of Witchcraft (2013) and Stanley Spencer: The Colours of Clyde (2014), both on BBC Four. In 2017 he was a judge on the BBC’s The Big Painting Challenge. In 2017 he was commissioned to document the construction of new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy. In 2015 he wrote and presented the four-part BBC series The Story of Scottish Art.