Easter Ross Area Committee members will be asked to determine next steps for historic bust

Bouchardon, Bust, Invergordon
The bust of late landowner and MP Sir John Gordon, created by Edmé Bouchardon

Members of the Easter Ross Area Committee will decide next week (Monday 30 October) what the next steps will be for the historic Bouchardon Bust in Invergordon.

The bust which depicts late landowner and MP Sir John Gordon was created by Edmé Bouchardon and was sculpted in the early 18th century whilst the artist was resident in Rome and Sir John was on his Grand Tour.  It is owned by the Invergordon Common Good fund.

It represents an innovative creation in a style which wouldn’t be more widely seen until the latter part of the 18th century and has been described by experts at Sotheby’s as being, “brilliant in execution”.

Members of the Easter Ross Area Committee agreed at a meeting on 17 February 2022 that work be undertaken on an options appraisal and outline business case should a future decision be made to sell the bust on behalf of the Invergordon Common Good Fund.

At next Monday’s Area Committee meeting, Members will be asked to explore the potential of selling the bust and consider the assessment of the various sale options and the expert advice provided by Sotheby's.

If Members agree to explore this, the first step will be a public consultation on the proposal to dispose of the Bust, in line with the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.  This will seek the views of the wider Invergordon community.

The sale of the bust has the potential to recover a significant capital receipt for Invergordon Common Good Fund which would provide investment opportunities for income generation and rejuvenation of the Common Good fund.

The report, which will be considered by Members next week, can be found on the Highland Council website under Item 10, and will include all the options Members will be asked to consider before reaching a decision, including the pros and cons on public and private sale.

Additional Information

The bust has been in physical possession of Highland Council for over 60 years, but precise ownership details were not clarified until 2019 from Invergordon Town Council minutes.

The Invergordon Town Council minutes on 6 January 1931, held at the Inverness Archive Centre, revealed that, “the Provost, Cllr MacLeod and the Town Clerk were asked to visit Kindeace House Sale and endeavour to purchase the Bust of John Gordon said to be the founder of Invergordon and to offer up to £5 for same.”

The minutes also showed a Treasurer’s Ledger (dated 14.1.30) stating, “…paid S R Beauchamp Bust Sir John Gordon, £5.” The Town Council minutes from 3.2.30 stated, “The Council agreed to have the Sir John Gordon bust placed in the Town Hall, the position to be pointed out.”

25 Oct 2023