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Whilst working to commission may in many instances restrict creativity it is very rarely totally inhibited -

replication/reproduction of historical artifacts being an example. This commission on the other hand was a rare opportunity with the client’s consent, indeed encouragement, to be creative, to be whimsical and to have fun!

The Tam O Shanter Bench

The Tam O Shanter Bench.
6ft x 4ft x 30ins oak
Oiled & waxed - Completed June 2000

Figure detail.

By this time he was cross the ford,
Whare in the snaw the chapman smoor'd;
And past the birks and meikle stane,
Whare drunken Charlie brak's neck-bane;
And thro the whins, and by the cairn,
Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn;
And near the thorn, aboon the well,
Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel.
Before him Doon pours all his floods;
The doubling storm roars thro the woods;
The lightnings flash from pole to pole,
Near and more near the thunders roll:
When, glimmering thro the groaning trees,
Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze,
Thro ilka bore the beams were glancing,
And loud resounded mirth and dancing.

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn,
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi tippenny, we fear nae evil;
Wi usquabae, we'll face the Devil!
The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle,
Fair play, he car'd na deils a boddle.
But Maggie stood, right sair astonish'd,
Till, by the heel and hand admonish'd,
She ventur'd forward on the light;
And, vow! Tam saw an unco sight! .........

............Warlocks and witches in a dance:
Nae cotillion, brent new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east.
There sat Auld Nick, in shape o beast;
A touzie tyke, black, grim and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.

Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses;
And, by some devilish cantraip sleight,
Each in its cauld hand held a light:
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,
A murderer's banes, in gibbet-airns;
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristen'd bairns;
A thief new-cutted frae a rape -
Wi his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks, wi bluid red-rusted.
Five scymitars, wi murder crusted;
A garter which a babe had strangled;
A knife a father's throat had mangled -
Whom his ain son o life bereft -
The grey-hairs yet stack to the heft;
Wi mair of horrible and awefu,
Which even to name wad be unlawfu..........

Tam Taks the Road
2D Relief carved artwork.

The Auld Alloway Kirk
2D Relief carved artwork

The bench, or settle, is in oak and was made by a local cabinetmaker, John Divine.
The panels show the main characters and scenes from the poem with the final drama
being enacted along the top.

The haunting dance scene. Tam can be seen peering in the window
at the dance taking place as the devil plays the bagpipes!

All relief work was cut to a maximum depth of 5/8ins (15mm) in oak.

Figure detail.
(notice she's holding the horses tail)

The horses which form the bench ends embrace rather more than whimsy. The American client has a passion for carousel horses thus the horses identify the Scottish/American link - the clydesdale on one end, the galloper on the other, both in carousel poses and of course the terrified galloper has lost its tail

Both horses Designed in a Carousel horse style
Carved from 3ins(75mm) oak panels.
Oiled & waxed - Completed June 2000

if you want to know more about Robert Burn's: TAM ‘O’ Shanter

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