DORNOCH, THE AGE OF BRONZE

Dornoch, unveiled 07/06/1922

Every artist has a medium in which he or she excels and for Carrick this was stone. As his reputation grew however he received commissions to work in the more prestigious medium of bronze. For Dornoch’s war memorial he created the seven foot tall figure of a Seaforth Highlander entitled ‘After the Battle’. The soldier has returned to the lines after the battle and scans the horizon for his lost comrades who will never return. Today his gesture might seem a touch too melodramatic. The Scotsman newspaper critic once again attacked Carrick's highlander writing that the "Dornoch memorial is a good and representative sample of this realistic treatment which with very rare exceptions leaves one quite unmoved". Yet in the 1920’s Carrick was speaking to folk who were well read in such overt gestures, through their books and newspaper illiustations, advertising and posters, and increasingly through silent movies. There is however a further explanation which again relates to Carrick’s sensitivity to site. The memorial stood on the site of the ‘Torr-an-Roy’, a battle which was fought on the edge of the town in which the free men of Dornoch, protecting hearth and home, routed a marauding band of the Clan MacKay (times change and there are several MacKays listed on the memorial). In later times this was also the site of the ‘Receiving House’, a coach house where the mail coach arrived. Although an important burgh Dornoch was very isolated and for centuries this was the spot where news from the outside world first arrived in the town before the coming of the railway. Carrick therefore fused a poignant and contemporary image of the recent war with the history of the site, tapping in to local tradition and creating a commemorative memorial which was firmly rooted in native folklore and would touch the community in a more deep and meaningful way.

Among Carrick's business papers in Edinburgh are many letters to Memorial Committees and architects discussing his visit or planning a second visit to their town.

_DSC0715

Carrick had served in Belgium with the Royal Garrison Artillery and never lost site of the original motivation behind the erection of these memorials. He knew the horrors of war and had suffered loss, including that of fellow artists. Carrick greatly admired the work of J.W. Sommerville (Jimmy Sommerville) who was killed in the war. Another friend, the sculptor George Cuthbert Watson was gassed and never fully recovered. He was left too weak to continue as a sculptor and could only paint for the remainder of his life.

You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.


Get Flash Player