The arrival was the most dramatic, I think I have ever experienced! I’ve wanted to go to see the Jencks landform, Cells of Life at Jupiter Artland for years however I didn’t realise I’d be driving through it! Very cool…

I went to Jupiter Artland on my mini tour of Scotland in the Summer (basically, a week to visit my family). I went to another sculpture garden a couple of years ago but this one blows it out the water! And I wanted to feature it over the winter as this is somewhere you can visit even if it’s too early in the season for beautiful planting.

My Mum and I had a lovely couple of days in Fife (another blog to follow) however that morning there was a storm, and I wasn’t even sure we’d even get across the Forth Road Bridge in the weather…so it was all looking a bit bleak and washed out for our visit however we are Scottish we persevered! And you can see from the image above the weather gods smiled on us!

After the dramatic arrival, you end up unsurprisingly in the car park, after which you navigate past the owners’ house, a Jacobean Manor, Bonnington House. The Sculpture Garden was founded by Robert and Nicky Wilson who have been ploughing the profits from their homeopathic medicine business into their art collection for over a decade.

I have read that the ‘Wilsons want the artists they chose for their park to create not their biggest work, but to help them create one of their best works.’  Which is a wonderful ambition, so hats off to them!

Passing Bonnington House we were directed to an exhibition in the Orangery however I was more taken by the parterre garden. Which I found out only a few weeks ago was designed by Mazzullo Russell, as Emma Mazzullo is my SGD mentor.

Next stop the café as I needed my mid-morning caffeine fix. The Party Café was beautiful and an artwork in itself, by Nicolas Party! From the map, another little piece of art, you can see the works are placed through the grounds, so once replenish we started off walking around the woods behind the steadings, Gala Hill.

The first sculpture we came across, Firmament by Anthony Gormley, my mum was not impressed with and I was a bit worried I‘d picked an activity which was proving to be unpopular.
However, the drama and humour of some of the works further into the woods soon won her over.
Then on to the Jencks, Cells of Life Landform, which references the basic building blocks of life; the cell and the process of mitosis, very me I must say! Charles Jencks was inspired by prehistoric landforms which I also love, and I have to say the huge terraced mounds remind me of the east side of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh or my clients views of strip lynchets in Dorset…so perhaps a subconscious attraction.
We then went into the second area of woodland called the Wilderness, which had some very unexpectedly impressive artworks on a grand scale. After the Jencks’ I wasn’t expecting to be impressed but I was completely won over, especially by one installation called the ‘The Light Pours Out Of Me’ by Anya Gallaccio.

As you can see from the pictures it’s pretty unassuming from the outside, if not a bit scary, so nothing prepares you from what’s actually down that tunnel. It is so clever and beautiful! It made me think of grottos that were very popular in the Scottish Enlightenment. I believe, in reference to Greek mythology, but I am not going to pretend I know much about the classics.

Once you have seen all the wonders the woods have in store, then you move on to the Duck Pond which also has several kinetic sculptures dotted about and some lovely planting, definitely a spot to have a picnic on a lovely day!

I am not going to share any other pictures of the installations, there are many I haven’t featured however I really want you to visit the park and have surprises of your own.

Jupiter Artland is situated near Wilkieston, west of Edinburgh not far from the airport which makes it accessible, from both Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as visitors doing fly-drive holidays, like your truly.