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9 Jun 2023

Apple of our eye – new garden sculpture for Brodick Castle

Written by Paul Williams
A large wooden sculpture of apples, some on the branch, is displayed on a lawn. A flower bed filled with purple flowers is in the foreground.
The apple sculpture carved from oak has been installed on the lawn of the walled garden.
A new sculpture created by Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games sculptor Robert Coia has been installed in the walled garden at Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran.

The apple sculpture was created using timber from a fallen oak tree within the castle grounds. It now takes pride of place in the walled garden and celebrate the garden’s former function as a kitchen garden and tree nursery between 1710–1860, before it was turned into a formal pleasure garden in the late 19th century.

We commissioned the sculpture to create a focal point on the lawn, which we hope will encourage visitors to explore the garden in a different way. Having admired the apples, you can then appreciate the planting and sundial centrepiece from further angles, as well as taking in the stunning view over Brodick Bay from the oldest parts of the garden.

Sculptor Robert Coia, who served his apprenticeship with Arran-based sculptor Marvin Elliot over 30 years ago, created several large-scale sculptures (including that of the official mascot Clyde) for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games in 2014. We commissioned him to design and create the apple sculpture, which took around 9 weeks to complete. Timber was transported from the grounds of the castle to Robert’s studio in Pollok Country Park in the Southside of Glasgow, where he created the impressive wood carving before it was installed at Brodick in May 2023.

Tim Keyworth, Gardens and Designed Landscape Manager for Ayrshire and Arran, said: ‘We’re delighted with the new apple sculpture Robert has created. It looks fantastic and the team at Brodick are excited to welcome visitors to the walled garden to see the stunning sculpture in place. The new addition complements the recent planting of apple trees, grown against a framework that edges the lawns, and entices visitors to explore the gardens further.

‘Alongside the new apple sculpture, we have also commissioned Robert to create an installation inspired by peaches. This will further enhance the walled garden, and is expected later in the year. It’s thanks to the generous support of our members and donors that we’re able to create these areas of interest in our gardens and continue to care for and protect our special places, such as Brodick Castle.’

Visitors can enjoy the new sculpture in Brodick Castle Garden as well as other activities, including the Silver Garden Trail and Plant Hunters’ Walk. Younger visitors can also explore the castle’s grounds and woodlands on the new Fairies and Legends Trail or discover the Isle Be Wild adventure playground.

Sculptor Robert Coia said: ‘I’m really pleased to see the finished sculpture find its home in the walled garden at Brodick Castle. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to work with the timber from the fallen oak, as it provided an excellent material to work with.’

“The curved nature of the apples was a challenge, but I’m delighted with the outcome and the opportunity for it to be enjoyed by visitors long into the future.”
Robert Coia

Creating outdoor art installations, like this one at Brodick, supports our objective to provide inspiring heritage visitor experiences, as outlined in our 10-year strategy to provide access to nature, beauty and heritage for everyone.

Read more about our strategy

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