Tuesday, December 10, 2019
The skye times mobile

A Skye cottage will soon be turned into an artist's residence.

The cottage belonged to courage WWII veteran, Vice-Admiral Roddy Macdonald.  Generally known as Admiral Roddy, he was a keen watercolourist whose brushes and easel accompanied him on all his travels, including throughout his service during World War II and subsequent conflicts.  


The cottage at Braes, which overlooks the sea, is where he spent many happy years during retirement. It was gifted by his estate to Wasps and now has three studios, including the one the admiral used himself.

Pictures, paintings and travel mementoes belonging to Roddy (who died in 2000) are being kept at what is now known as The Admiral's House to preserve the memory of a man who was deeply involved with island life. He was Chieftain of the Skye Highland Games, organised the conversion of the old school into a village hall was instrumental in banning tankers from passing through the Minch. A number of items belonging to the Admiral will also be housed in the Skye and Lochalsh archives.

John Macdonald, the Admiral's son, said: "This project has brought all of the family back together again in a symbolic way. It's wonderful that this beautiful place will continue to be a focal point for the rest of the family to come, enjoy and share experiences." 

The first resident artist to use the facility is Martin Campbell, a Glasgow based maker originally from Benbecula. 

The residency is being delivered by Wasps in partnership with the respected Skye-based Atlas Arts. Future programmes and activities will also be developed in association with Atlas Arts. 

Emma Nicolson, Director of Atlas Arts said: "We're delighted to be collaborating with Wasps on the first residency in the Admiral's House at Ollach. We look forward to working closely together in future to bring a diversity of artists to Skye. The three studios offer a beautiful setting to create new work and I am sure will be inspiring to many."

The opening event will take place on Thursday, 11 May and will involve members of the admiral's family along with the local community, artists and representatives from Wasps and Atlas Arts.

Audrey Carlin, Wasps Senior Executive Director for Business Development, said: "We hope that this new residency facility in Skye will attract creative practitioners from all over the world, drawing an international audience to this uniquely beautiful location.  

"It will allow artists the time and space to reflect and develop their own practice whilst engaging with the local community and other creative people visiting the house. 

"We would sincerely like to thank John Macdonald, Admiral Roddy's son for bequeathing the house to our organisation and will endeavor to ensure it continues to be a centre for inspiration for years to come."


Wasps provides studios and workspaces for artists and other members of the cultural sector across the country from Shetland to the Borders. This year the organisation celebrates 40 years of supporting creative people in Scotland and the opening of the Admiral's House is the first event to mark this anniversary.


This project has been made possible thanks to support from Creative Scotland.

Andrew Leitch, Creative Industries & Capital Projects Officer, Creative Scotland, said: "Creative Scotland is delighted to have supported Wasps in the creation of their new studio and artists residence 'The Admiral's House'.  Wasps have transformed the former home of one of Skye's most remarkable characters, Vice-Admiral Sir Roderick Macdonald, through a sympathetic contemporary building solution, which retains the original character of the original building into a remarkable new residence for artists which is an important addition to arts infrastructure on this Scottish island.  

"The Admiral's House will allow artists the time and space to develop their own practice whilst engaging with the local community and meeting other creative people using the facility. This is the final project in Wasps Five Cubed project, begun in 2007, whereby the Scottish Arts Council and Creative Scotland through Lottery funding have supported Wasps to deliver more than five high quality facilities for creatives across Scotland."

One of the great appeals of the Admiral's House is that the superb surrounding landscapes provide a strong sense of place and that the residency facility will offer artists the chance to develop their connections with local communities, oral and social histories, music, and Gaelic culture.

Wasps Artists Studios have invited the public along for the event, on Thursday at 2pm, which marks the completion of the project to restore the house and add new studios.






Site created by Intermedia Services (Stornoway) Ltd © 2017