The visual arts programme at Mount Stuart, under the direction of and curated by Sophie Crichton-Stuart, aims to promote and facilitate interest in the contemporary visual arts and bring exhibitions of an international standard to Bute and Argyll. It utilises the context of Mount Stuart and the Isle of Bute to create potential to reach a wider audience and provides an exciting opportunity for public artwork as well as accessible educational opportunities.
The Victorian Gothic Mount Stuart is one of Scotland's most exceptional country houses. With a diverse 18th to 21st century landscape, it presents a unique challenge in relation to interventionary contemporary art practice.
The Mount Stuart Trust annually invites internationally respected artists to exhibit and create new work in response to both the Mount Stuart and its surroundings. Commissioned works have included land art, photography, video, film, sculpture, installation and painting. These projects have developed within the context of the archives, history and architecture of the House, gardens and island. The collaborative process of each project enriches the programme, artists' practice, and audience participation, while continuing the tradition of commissioning innovative new work at Mount Stuart.
In 2001 Mount Stuart Trust opened the newly built Visitor Centre. In the spirit of this inaugural development the Trust commissioned artist Kate Whiteford to create a large scale land drawing on the front lawn of the house, entitled Shadow of a Necklace. The success of this exquisite work and the positive response to bringing contemporary artwork to Mount Stuart, led to our commitment to continue an annual Visual Arts Programme. The programme is now in its eleventh year and we are proud to be part of Scotland’s thriving art community.