Kelburn Castle, Ayrshire
Kelburn Castle is no ordinary castle, not on the surface anyway. For years it was a perfectly standard Scots Baronial castle which didn’t stand out in a country full of them. But when the owner, The Earl of Glasgow discovered that the render covering the building needed to be renewed, his son David, an architect, persuaded him to send it out in style. The Graffiti Project was born.
In May 2007 four Brazilian graffiti artists, Os Gemeos (identical twin brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo), Nina, and Nunca transformed the south façade of the castle into one huge mural. The grey castle wall has become an amazing piece of art designed to both delight and to challenge people’s prejudices against graffiti.
The mural covers one wing of the castle, turrets, chimneys and all. Each artist has their own distinctive style, but their work interweaves to create a strange and magical tableau. The blank-looking yellow fellows with spindly legs are an Os Gemeos trademark. The big-eyed wistful looking creatures surrounding by nature are by Nina, and Nunca’s indigenous South American people join the crew, all living in magical harmony.
What’s great about the graffiti project is that it’s so audacious. There is a lot of public art in Scotland and plenty of murals around, but this is different. The sheer size is remarkable but the way that it’s so colourful and unconventional is very fresh. It won’t be to everybody’s taste of course, and allegedly the owner hates it but hey, it won’t be there forever. The harling covering the castle walls will be renewed at some point (no set date at time of writing) so this wonderful piece will disappear forever. Catch it while you can.
If the castle isn’t your thing Kelburn Country Centre is still a great day out. The gardens are beautiful, there’s a small museum and the country walks are a pleasure including the Secret Forest which is great for kids.
Easdale Island photos
More of Anne's Kelburn Castle photos
How to get there
Kelburn Country Estate is on the A78 between Fairlie and Largs. There is an admission charge for the estate. Parking on site.