Scotland’s Secret Stone Circle

Inspiration for your artwork can come from many different sources. A few years ago I created two pieces of artwork depicting a nearby stone circle at Torhouse in south west Scotland. The simplest way to describe it is as a “mini Stonehenge”. Scotland is famous for its castles and lochs but this ancient site is less well-known. To give you an idea of the scale of the stones, the diameter of the circle is approximately sixty feet and the tallest of the central stones is under four feet. Although the site is listed on Historic Scotland, this area is a little off the beaten track and it is a site that tourists are unlikely to stumble across by chance.

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The site is unusual for this part of Scotland and is remarkably well preserved considering that it dates back to the Bronze Age, some four thousand years ago. As with other sites of this nature, it is unclear precisely what their purpose was but it was presumably for religious ceremonial purposes of some sort. There are nineteen stones in total, including three larger stones that form the centrepiece. The site may have been laid out in a design related to the midwinter sunrise.

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Circles of this kind are most common in north-east Scotland and in Ireland. Not far from the circle, there is another group of three stones to the east and a single standing stone to the south. Various theories exist as to the arrangement of the stones and their relation to one another but ultimately the site will remain shrouded in mystery. I wanted to capture this element in my painting and emphasised the dark shadows cast by the sunlight.

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One theory is that the site is a Druid Circle and local tradition believes it to be the site of King Galdus’s Tomb. Legend has it that Galdus led the fight against the Romans in A.D 80 and is the source of the county name Galloway. The central stones are understood to mark his burial place. The three standing stones separate from the circle could be the burial sites of three of his generals who died alongside him in battle.

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I then made a pastel drawing of the site from a different angle. I was fascinated by the stark contrast in the texture of the stones with the grassy surrounds. I recently made a return visit to the site and plan to create a series of more detailed drawings of the stones. I would also like to see the site in different light and weather conditions. I have been fortunate to have visited on bright sunny days previously but can imagine that the place takes on a completely different mood on dark days.

I hope that you will follow the progress of my various art projects through my blog in association with Bigvyor and through Ecoarts.co.uk. Bigvyor invites all artists and art lovers to share their work and sources of inspiration by setting up their own gallery or room on the site. There are no fees to pay and the site aims to become a useful resource for the global art community.

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