BEDROCK

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The Orcadian connection was maintained as Carrick continued to visit the islands as a young art student. There he studied St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall and he apparently based the distinctive lettering which he often adopted for his memorials on the lettering carved on a stone there. Even the red sandstone cathedral seems inextricably tied to the island geology, built from its ancient bedrock. Eric Linklater once wrote of it 'and yet it is a very native church, for the old rock of Orkney has been shaped with an extraordinary strength and grace to proclaim the glory of God and yet not lose its persistent kinship with the island cliffs'. I think Carrick carried this conceptual approach on into his Highland war memorials and other works such as the relief of 'Geology' at Edinburgh University's King's Buildings, always creating work which was native to its surroundings.

In 1897 his father purchased his apprenticeship, to work as a stone mason in the yard of Scotland’s great monumental sculptor of the time, Birnie Rhind.

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Anne Scott once told me that when asked as a child what he wanted to do when he grew up the young Alex Carrick said that 'He could think of nothing finer than making the shells for pies!'

Above - St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

Right-Stones, rather than trees, form the natural and cultural landscape of the Orkneys.

All photographs supplied and reproduced by kind permission of Charles Tait Photography, Orkney.
Copyright Charles Tait

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