Council in discussions with Earl to save mural
Patrick Boyle, The Earl of Glasgow, has asked North Ayrshire Council to extend permission to keep an internationally renowned work of ‘Street Art’ decorating the family pile, indefinitely. Kelburn Castle has been in the family for over for 800 years, and the painting was allowed, as renovation was scheduled to take place to repair the masonry work, facing the 13th century castle. Boyle has now written to Historic Scotland seeking to establish whether it is likely the agency would object, if he sought consent to allow the graffiti to stay indefinitely. Kelburn Castle is a large house near Fairlie, North Ayrshire, Scotland. It is also the seat of the Earl of Glasgow.
The original keep forms the core of the house, it was remodelled in the sixteenth century. In 1700 the first Earl made further extensions to the house in the manner of a French château and it has remained virtually intact since. In 1977 the house and grounds opened to the public as a country park. It is one of the oldest castles in Scotland and has been continuously inhabited by the same family for longer than any other. The castle is protected as a category A listed building. The mural was completed by Brazilian graffiti artists in 2007. It features a group of interwoven cartoons in psychedelic colours depicting urban cultural figures and scenes of fantasy. Last month the mural was named as one of the world’s top ten examples of street art, by author Tristan Manco. He described the work as “on a par with Banksy’s work in Los Angeles and the Favela Morro Da Providencia in Rio de Janeiro”.
In 2007 experts told the owners of Kelburn Castle that its concrete facing would need to be replaced to avoid further damage to the stonework. At the suggestion of his children, Lord Glasgow invited four Brazilian graffiti artists to paint the walls. Historic Scotland agreed to the project, on the basis that the graffiti would be removed when the castle was re-harled. The project was featured on the BBC television programme The Culture Show. Also in 2007, Kelburn featured in another BBC programme, Crisis at the Castle which documented the financial problems of running the castle.
In September 2010 A heritage body discussed the removal of graffiti from the castle and the latest memorandum of guidance published by Historic Scotland states that owners of listed properties should only use “historically correct colours in a manner which is appropriate to the building”. They stated “Where more than one colour is to be used, they should all relate to the architectural features of the whole building in a logical and consistent manner. The painting of one storey a different colour from another, or indeed any part of the building differently from the remainder, should always be avoided.” “The artwork is a celebration of Kelburn Castle’s importance as a historic building and we are pleased that it not only has attracted many visitors to the Estate, but it has received this recognition.
Historic Scotland added; “Any arrangement for extending the listed building consent is a matter for North Ayrshire Council. Historic Scotland is happy to continue to advise the council as necessary.”