Angus sculptor wins ‘varsity recognition

Dave Ramsay, Dr Cheryl McGeachan and Brian Wyllie
Dave Ramsay, Dr Cheryl McGeachan and Brian Wyllie

An Angus sculptor commissioned to create a work in the style of Montrose artist Adam Christie has received recognition from Glasgow University.

Arbroath sculptor Brian Wyllie, whose studio is at Pitmuies, has been commissioned to create a sculpture in the Christie style to commemorate the Sunnyside Royal Hospital patient, who produced many sculptures, paintings and other works of art while he was at the asylum in Hillside.

Brian’s work has now been endorsed by Glasgow University, and he has been presented with a cheque presented by Dr Cheryl McGeachan, who is conducting a research programme into art and mental illness.

Dr McGeachan said: “During my research into the Art Extraordinary collection I have encountered a wonderful array of mesmerising artworks and fascinating biographical stories about their makers.

“Adam Christie’s stone carvings are unique windows into the histories of mental health care in Scotland and offer an important opportunity to connect the issues of mental ill-health, care and creativity in the contemporary landscape.”

Christie came from Shetland to Sunnyside in 1901, and was there until his death in 1950.

With no formal training, he began to create stone sculptures using anold file, a six inch nail and a piece of broken glass for the finishing touches.

This is the last stage in an eight year project by Dave Ramsay, project director of The Howe o’ the Mearns Heritage Association, to recognise Christie.

Last year, a Historic Scotland plaque dedicated to the sculptor was installed at his grave site at Sleepyhillock Cemetery in Montrose.

Brian’s finished sculpture will sit at Adam’s grave site facing Sunnyside and Shetland.

Dave, who hails from Arbroath, said: “It is amazing how the interest in Adam and his sculptures has developed, and this link with Glasgow University is an excellent opportunity to gain a deeper insight into him and his life at Sunnyside Hospital.

“It was also amazing to discover Brian and his high level of skills in stone, after a series of failed negotiations with other sculptors.”