Skirling House - Art

At the Whitmuir Organic Farm complex near Romano Bridge on the A701 is the contemporary Art Gallery Dancing Light.    It has an interesting collection of paintings, ceramics, glass, textiles and jewellery, and is a great place to browse before a cup of coffee and a scone or an organic lunch in the Whitmuir restaurant.   There is also a farm shop with products from Whitmuir and further afield and a chance to explore the farm itself.

Andy Goldsworthy the landscape artist lives in Penpont, close to Thornhill and some of his work can be seen at Cairnhead near Moniave.   Striding Arches is a powerful and sensitive meeting of art and nature, where red sandstone arches stride across the hilltops.  Walking routes are described at

Driving a bit further to Shawhead about 7 miles west of Dumfries takes you to the Glenkiln Sculptures positioned in the glen by Sir William Keswick.  There are four statues by Henry Moore including The King and Queen,; Visitation by Jacob Epstein and a piece by Auguste Rodin.


The Paxton House Gallery, situated on the banks of the river Tweed, just outside Berwick. Built by the Adam brothers in 1758 for the young Patrick Home it is perhaps the finest example of 18th century Palladian Country houses in Britain. The Paxton Trust in association with The National Galleries of Scotland have carefully restored the Gallery to its original colour scheme. The house is furnished with most of the original pieces purchased from Chippendale, Haig and Company in the latter half of the Eighteenth Century.


Set in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, Little Sparta is Ian Hamilton Finlay’s greatest work of art. It is a place for contemplation, intellectual receptiveness and enjoyment. The garden as a whole discloses to the viewer who walks around it, many complexities of meaning, sentiment and wit. It is also a fragile place, easily damaged by the northern climate and constantly requiring careful conservation.
Imbued with high idea content, the garden is created from the artistic fusion of poetic and sculptural elements with those of the natural landscape, which is shaped and changed to become an inherent part of the concepts realised at Little Sparta.

While works of art are commonly viewed in galleries, public parks and streets, museums and private houses, it is perhaps a unique achievement to have created a garden which is itself a major artwork encompassing within it both horticultural elements and individual works in such materials as stone, wood and metal.
Finlay’s intentions were  moral and philosophical as well as poetic. The themes dealt with in the garden are those which underlie the structures of society. The French Revolution, pre-Socratic views of the nature of the world, the Second World War, the sea and its fishing fleets are among the sources of metaphor and image which are realised in the garden’s over 275 art works.