Trees of Marchmont 2

The Quarry veteran

When I was first commisioned to make charcoal drawings for the Marchmont collection, I was given a map which owner Hugo Burge had annotated with some of his favourite estate trees.

a gnarly beech tree

On one of my research trips to the Scottish Borders, Hugo’s map guided me to a cluster of rather mangled beeches at the edge of an old quarry. These trees had seen some action. Although not large, many had veteran characteristics including hollows, dead wood, fungus and decay. Growing on the top of the hill would have been challenging enough but I imagined they had also been victims of the industrial activity there, limbs hacked off by humans needing fire or timber.

a gnarly beech tree

I’ve had a long fascination with these kind of trees, the ones with their stories written into their forms. It’s amazing what they can adapt to and how adversity shapes them. Truly time and experience made wood.

charcoal drawings of old trees

I’ve been drawing this tree and others as part of my preparation for the Marchmont commission. I’ll be adding more blog posts on the project as it progresses – if you’d like to read more start here.