May 1, 2013 by

Kelburn Castle is a large house near Fairlie, North Ayrshire, Scotland. It is the seat of the Earl of Glasgow(Boyle family). Originally built in the thirteenth century (the original keep forms the core of the house) it was remodelled in the sixteenth century. In 1700 the first Earl made further extensions to the house in a manner not unlike a French château which is virtually how it appears today. In 1977 the house and grounds opened to the public as a country park. It is one of the oldest castles in Scotland and has been continuously inhabited by the same family for longer than any other. 

In 2007 experts told the owners of Kelburn Castle that its concrete facing would eventually need to be replaced to avoid further damage to the stonework. At the suggestion of his children, Lord Glasgow invited four Brazilian graffiti artists to paint the walls. Historic Scotland agreed to the project, on the basis that the graffiti would be removed when the castle was re-harled. The project was featured on the BBC television programme The Culture Show. Also in 2007, Kelburn featured in another BBC programme, Crisis at the Castle which documented the financial problems of running the castle.

BBC article about the graffiti project:

“The work at Kelburn Castle, in Largs, which was painted by Brazilian street artists, had been named as one of the world’s best examples of urban art. But it is to come down after engineers discovered that the cement coating on which it is painted was causing damage to the original castle walls.

Castle owner The Earl of Glasgow had wanted the graffiti to stay.

The mural features a psychedelic series of interwoven cartoons depicting surreal urban culture. It was completed by Brazilian graffiti artists in 2007 at a cost of £20,000. The mural was permitted by North Ayrshire Council on the understanding that it was temporary.  A three-year limit was put on the graffiti, pending the start of work to replace the harling render on the exterior of the turret.But the owner had been fighting to keep the mural for longer.

The castle is located in the grounds of Kelburn Estate, which also houses a country centre open to the public and featuring a series of outdoor attractions.

Last year, the mural was named as one of the world’s top 10 examples of street art by author and designer Tristan Manco – on a par with Banksy’s work in Los Angeles and the Favela Morro Da Providencia in Rio de Janeiro.

The Earl of Glasgow, Patrick Boyle, whose family has been in Kelburn Castle for 800 years, was said to be devastated that he would have to remove the graffiti.”

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