Great War tree sculpture takes root at Kelvingrove
A SCULPTURE depicting the last remaining tree in the First World War has been put on display in Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
The unveiling came just days before the centenary of the Battle of Arras, which involved more Scots than any other battle.
The niece of a soldier who died at the Battle of Arras praised the sculpture as a symbol of hope and regeneration.
Called FRANCE 1914, the sculpture was donated to charity by its creator, Simon Burns-Cox, who took up sculpting after suffering a brain haemorrhage 21 years ago.
Simon, 54, said: “I wanted to do something about the First World War and this felt like the right thing for it. This is a symbol of the imaginary last tree standing on the battlefield.
“I believe in supporting the Armed Forces in any way I can, as these people have put their lives on the line for us. Perhaps I also identify with those who have suffered as I have been ill myself, which resulted in life-changing consequences but also led to me becoming a sculptor.”
When he was 33, Simon suffered a brain haemorrhage which left him with a 50% chance of survival and meant he required seven operations on his brain.
As he was recovering, he decided to take up stone carving and went to Rome for three years to perfect his art.
Lieutenant Colonel Helen Homewood, whose uncle Sergeant John Erskine from Dunfermline died at the Battle of Arras aged 23, was most im- pressed by the sculptor’s work.
She said it was an “extremely tactile piece” which symbolised nature’s ability to withstand man’s destructive forces.
Mark Bibbey, head of Poppyscotland, said: “Simon’s sculpture is a striking and poignant piece of work and we were exceptionally grateful that he chose to gift it to Poppyscotland. I am quite sure that the year spent at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum will open up this fantastic sculpture to a whole new audience, educating people about a battle that has often been overlooked in relation to others.”
After stints in the Scottish Parliament and the People’s Palace Museum, Glasgow, the sculpture will be on display for a year before moving to Glasgow’s Riverside Museum.
It will then be sold at auction to raise funds for Poppyscotland, a charity which supports ex-Service people, their families and dependents.
Lieutenant Colonel Helen Homewood next to the sculpture France 1914 by the artist Simon Burns-Cox that has been installed at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. Lieut. Col. Homewood’s uncle, Sgt. John Erskine VC, above, fought and died on the Arras...