Invergordon Hangar Door Marble Bust Might Be Sold

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The marble bust of Sir John Gordon was made by French artist Edme Bouchardon

A valuable marble bust that was lost for years before being found opening the door of a shed in an industrial estate in the Highlands may be up for sale.

The Sir John Gordon sculpture was made by French artist Edme Bouchardon in 1728 and valued at around £1.4million at a 2016 appraisal.

Highland Council, which has a role in the conservation of works of art, has had initial discussions with specialists.

The potential sale would benefit Invergordon Common Good Fund.

The fund provides grant aid to projects in and around the city.

A report to the Highland Council’s Easter Ross area committee next week said advice had been sought from specialists at Sotheby’s auctioneers.

Advisors will receive a more detailed report on the potential sale at a later date.

Sir John was an MP whose family owned land at Easter Ross in the Highlands and also gave his name to the town of Invergordon on the Cromarty Firth.

Bouchardon created sculptures for the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, the former residence of French royalty, and also made the Fontaine des Quatre Saisons rue de Grenelle in Paris.

Years after making his sculpture of Sir John, the bust was handed over to Invergordon Town Council.

It was then thought to have been misplaced and lost during the local government reorganization before being rediscovered as a door stop for a shed in an industrial estate in Balintore, near Invergordon, in 1998.

Eight years ago, an argument broke out after the Highland Council suggested selling the bust.

Rob Gibson, SNP MSP for the area at the time, objected to the local authorities proceeding with the sale as he believed the work had been bequeathed to the community of Invergordon in the 1920s.

Marble bust of Sir John Gordon

The bust was found opening the door of a shed in 1998

Documents supporting the community’s claim to the bust are believed to have been destroyed over the past 40 years.

In 2016, the bust was exhibited at the Louvre in Paris and the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

High Life Highland is handling the carving on behalf of the Highland Council.

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