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The Scottish Maritime Museum’s national art collection has been enhanced with two new artworks, gifted by renowned Scottish artist, author and broadcaster Lachlan Goudie and former shipyard worker and now artist Roy Fitzsimmons.

Each artwork powerfully portrays Scottish shipbuilders at work and has been created from personal experience, Goudie following a rare opportunity to study life in the yards close up over many months and Fitzsimmons drawing on time spent working in the shipyards.

Goudie has gifted ‘Shipyard Brotherhood’. The large acrylic on canvas captures a moment of almost reflection amongst shipbuilders in the midst of the noise and pace of a busy yard.

‘Shipyard Brotherhood’ was first shown as part of Goudie’s acclaimed ‘Shipyard’ exhibition, which premiered at the Scottish Maritime Museum in late 2017.

‘Shipyard’ was created during the artist’s unique seven year project documenting construction of the next generation of Britain’s naval vessels, the world leading Type 45 Destroyers and the monolithic Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, at BAE Systems shipyards at Scotstoun, Govan and Rosyth.

Roy Fitzsimmons has gifted a triptych of charcoal portrait studies entitled ‘The Shipbuilders’.

Fitzsimmons began his career as an electrician in the shipyards of the West coast of Scotland before earning a place at Glasgow School of Art. He then went on to become an artist in residence with Irvine Development Corporation/North Ayrshire Council, where he was co-creator of the Irvine Dragon (located on the sands at Irvine Beach).

Abigail McIntyre, Curator at the Scottish Maritime Museum, says:

We are thrilled to add ‘Shipyard Brotherhood’ and ‘The Shipbuilders’ to our burgeoning national art collection.

“Lachlan Goudie is a very significant living Scottish artist and his ’Shipyard’ exhibition was an unprecedented artistic exploration of contemporary Scottish shipbuilding. Roy Fitzsimmons work is moving and rich with the lived experience of working in the shipyards of the West of Scotland.

“Both works resonate perfectly with our passion for finding new and engaging ways to tell the stories of the people behind our maritime heritage – all the craftsmen, inventors and explorers who helped shape shipbuilding across the world.”

Gifting ‘Shipyard Brotherhood’ to the Scottish Maritime Museum, Lachlan Goudie adds:

Shipyard Brotherhood’ is an amalgamation of different scenes, principally at Govan, during the construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth. There’s a sort of religious echo in the pose of the top figure who dominates the scene so the idea of a ‘brotherhood’ came from that. There’s no doubt the sense of the workforce in a shipyard (mostly men) being bound to one another and responsible for one another is very profound. It’s also noticeable that amidst all the noise and activity of a working yard, there are also moments of stillness, pauses in tasks during which the resting figures take on a meditative air.”

Gifting ‘The Shipbuilders’ to the Scottish Maritime Museum, Roy Fitzsimmons reflects on what led him to leave the shipyards and become an artist:

Whilst working in the shipyards, I had an outside interest in sculpture, working mainly in wood. In 1978, my work, which was related to shipbuilding and mainly figures in various poses similar to the triptych, was featured in an edition of the BBC’s Omnibus. A certain amount of inspiration from the programme, which was called “Everyone a special kind of artist” led me to decide to ‘go over the wall’ so to speak and get a place at Glasgow School of Art to focus full-time on sculpture.”

‘Shipyard Brotherhood’ and ‘The Shipbuilders’ will go on display in the Scottish Maritime Museum’s Linthouse building on Irvine Harbourside in 2022.

The Grade A Victorian Linthouse was, aptly, formerly the Engine Shop of Govan shipbuilders Alexander Stephen and Sons before being relocated to Irvine in 1991 to house the maritime collection.

The Scottish Maritime Museum’s national maritime-related art collection, which was unveiled in June 2018, includes oil paintings, watercolours, sketches, photography, sculpture and mixed media by artists including John Bellany, FCB Cadell, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Muirhead Bone, Kate Downie, George Wyllie, Tom McKendrick and Benno Schotz.

For more information, or to book a visit: www.scottishmaritimemuseum.org 


Issued on behalf of the Scottish Maritime Museum by 

Joanna Harrison, Mobile: 07884 187404.

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