Gunsgreen House goes ‘With the Grain’ by hosting art exhibition

Derek Janes with a mask from the Tim Stead exhibition in Gunsgreen House
Derek Janes with a mask from the Tim Stead exhibition in Gunsgreen House

AS it looks forward to a busy summer season, Gunsgreen House is sure to be a mecca for local art fans over the next few weeks thanks to a new exhibition of work by one of the Borders’ best loved artists.

From May 31 to July 2, visitors are invited to enjoy ‘With the Grain, A celebration of the life & Work of Tim Stead, the first exhibition ever to be held at the famous refurbished mansion house.

Based at Blainslie, near Lauder, from 1980 until his death in 2000, Tim was highly-respected as an artist with a passion for wood in all its manifestations.

That obsession and his zeal as an environmentalist led him to develop a close relationship with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).

And the Gunsgreen exhibition is the result of the ongoing collaboration between the RBGE and Stead’s widow Maggy, who continues to run the family’s well-established workshop.

Among the pieces which are on display in Eyemouth is an item from Tim’s celebrated ‘Layer’ collection and an eyecatching Skelet Chair. Gunsgreen House manager, Derek Janes, said he thought the surroundings complemented Tim’s work perfectly and vice versa.

He told ‘The Berwickshire News’: “We can’t have exhibitions of lots of paintings or anything like that because we haven’t got the wall space but the furniture really sits well in the environment Gunsgreen can provide.

“Tim’s designs all have a story behind them as does the house itself and the furniture already here. Tim might not be desperately well known to a huge audience but he is extremely well known in certain circles and his work is fantastic.

“From our point of view having something a bit different is great for us and for our visitors. We recognise that every year we have to try and do something new to encourage more people to come to Gunsgreen without alienating any of our regular visitors.

“Art exhibitions are the perfect way to do that and we’re looking at having them on a more regular basis.”

Alan Bennell, RBGE Head of Interpretation and co-curator of ‘With The Grain’ alongside Maggy Stead, added: “It is a privilege to see Tim’s contemporary work in the elegant period setting of 18th century Gunsgreen House.

“This is the first time his remarkable pieces have been integrated with classic furniture of a past era in such a traditional setting.

“This exhibition is in tribute to a remarkable man whose philosophy and passion for the natural world was so integral to our strategies as a botanic garden.

There is also an added a touch of poignancy as Eyemouth was the destination for Maggy and Tim’s very last day out before his tragically early passing in 2000.

‘With The Grain’ runs from May 31 to July 2, open Thursday to Monday only from 11am-5pm (last admissions 4.15pm).

Admission charges to the house apply.