Painting of Calton Hill Scottish Parliament vision up for auction

The watercolour which will be put up for auction. Pic: Page and Park Architects
The watercolour which will be put up for auction. Pic: Page and Park Architects
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A watercolour painting depicting an alternative design and vision for the Scottish Parliament building will be put up for auction at a charity Burns supper in Edinburgh tonight.

The picture, which shows a dome-topped building next to St Andrew’s House in Regent Road, illustrates where the structure could have been located had the Holyrood site not become available at a late stage in the process.

It was created by Page and Park Architects as part of the campaign by the city council’s development company, EDI, to get the parliament building on Calton Hill.

The watercolour will be put up for auction tonight at the One City Trust Burns Supper at which Scotland rugby legend Doddie Weir will be speaking. One City Trust is an independent charity which aims to fight inequality and exclusion in Edinburgh.

Director of Edinburgh-based economic development company Playfair Scotland, Donald Anderson, decided to auction the picture to raise money for the good cause.

He said: “This picture was important to me as we fought really hard to get the new parliament where I think everyone in Edinburgh thought it should be, on Calton Hill. The proposals were fantastic and Waterloo Place would have become our Whitehall and government quarter.

“When Scottish and Newcastle (brewing company) offered up the site (Holyrood) he jumped at it. It was a case of winning the war to get it in the city centre, but losing the battle.

“I used to have it in my office in the city chambers and took every opportunity to lecture visiting MSPs about what a terrible decision it was. It would have transformed Calton Hill and been visible across the city centre, which I think would have been great.

“This is a lovely bit of art, but it’s also an important piece of history. I offered it to the City Art Centre, but when they said they didn’t want it I automatically thought of the One City Trust. Hopefully it can raise some money for a fantastic cause.”

Initially, three sites were shortlisted as potential locations for the new Scottish Parliament - St Andrew’s House, Haymarket and Leith Docks.
Holyrood was a late entry into the site selection process.

Originally, it had been included in the long list of potential sites but was not shortlisted as it was not available in the required timescale.

But dialogue with Scottish and Newcastle continued and they offered the site in December 1997, indicating they could vacate it by early 1999.