Preserving Heritage Arts and Crafts and Nurturing a new Arts and Crafts Movement

The magnificent Marchmont House, situated within the Marchmont Estate some 70 kilometres from Edinburgh on the Scottish Borders, was built in 1750 and contains some of the finest Georgian and Arts and Crafts interiors in Scotland. It is a Grade A listed Palladian mansion and has belonged to the Burge Family since 1988.

Today, businessman and entrepreneur Hugo Burge has overseen award-winning restoration in the House and unveiled a $1.75 million Creative Spaces project investing in craftspeople of outstanding talent and skill. Burge’s investment in cultural capital through the refurbishment and transformation of eight workshops and studios will place Marchmont at the heart of a growing community of craftspeople who are looking to Scotland’s future as an arts and crafts center, whilst providing opportunities to preserve fine traditional practices from the past.

Marchmont House Photo © Richard Webb (cc-by-sa/2.0)

As director of Marchmont Ventures, Burge is dedicated to supporting sustainable creativity and understands the significance of craft history. This has led to establishing two apprenticeships at Marchmont Workshop for Richard Platt and Sam Cooper making rush seat ladder-back chairs under the tutelage of Lawrence Neal, an experienced UK craftsman. By creating a new generation of makers Burge has ensured the survival of this endangered 19thcentury practice as Neal approaches retirement. The Robert Lorimer designed stable block and garage conversion is now complete and has also provided creative space for fresco painter and art historian, Julia Alexandra Mee as well as stone carver Michelle De Bruin and her apprentice Jo Crossland. Marchmont has also commissioned two sculptures by Charlie Poulson, Skyboat and Dancing Tree, to add to its fine outdoor sculpture collection which includes work by Gormley, Dilworth, Moore and Nash. Events held at Marchmont House have attracted international experts, art historians, collectors and curators as well as designers and crafts people such as contemporary embroiderer Louise Gardiner and textile designer Morag McPherson. In partnership with the Royal Scottish Academy, the next scheduled conference ‘Inspiring Women Artists’ is planned for April 10th2021.

Marchmont House is supporting the future of heritage and traditional crafts in Scotland by incorporating creativity with innovation and collaboration. With this fusion of entrepreneurship and creative vision it is easy to see why Burge would invest in building opportunities for exceptionally talented craftspeople and how the environment at Marchmont could inspire and nurture a new movement in Arts and Crafts.