Gordonstoun House

This drawing is the result of a commission by a parent who gave it to her son as a school leaving present. It depicts Gordonstoun House, a 17th century mansion in the grounds of Gordonstoun School near Elgin. The building is – among other things – home to a small handful of Sixth Form boys who have affectionately named it G-House.

Gordonstoun House

Gordonstoun House May 2012

Nobody gets to wander around school estates as they please nowadays, especially not in an independent boarding school and with camera in hand. I am grateful to staff for giving me permission to enter the grounds and take photographs of a number of buildings and structures. The intention was – and still is – to use these as reference photographs for some drawings.

Schedules are always tight at the school and there is hardly ever a time when there are no students about, which meant I was unable to choose the date freely. As things turned out, the weekend in May last year on which I was given access, was cold, grey, wet, and altogether horrible. Nevertheless, I got my pictures, no small thanks to the nice security guard on patrol at the time.


8 thoughts on “Gordonstoun House

  1. agree – my own children go to a similar school… (they play each other at sport) also here is good interaction between the school and my own establishment (for number of reasons) – I have lots of building shots – which do not involve children in any way – it was the circular building and the view of the building (which you drew) that attracted me … life has changed… children are threatened not because people take photographs but because people break rules and guidelines and do not respect. Unfortunately this happens all too often.

    • A very sad development in our society, Scott. I agree with you, only because some choose to break the rules which have mostly been put in place to allow us to live together without conflict, people who take photographs are considered a threat anywhere where there are kids about.
      You mention the circular building, Round Square they call it for some reason, do you have any decent photos of that? I imagine it would make a good picture taken from above somehow, which I didn’t get to do. I was taken for a tour of Gordonstoun House, but only a very limited part of it was shown. It didn’t include the area I would have had to be to get a good view of Round Square. I took some photos at ground level but it was kind of difficult as there were still students milling around and with the trees and cars in the way I couldn’t really get a good shot anyway. Just wondering how you solved that problem. If you don’t mind 😉

      • It was a cold Sunday in very late autumn and there was nobody out and about at all – apart from a few hanging out at the end of the rowing loch – so it was easy in that respect. You cannot convey the round aspect of the ‘Round Square’ without elevation (or a shot from the roof or a cherry picker with a raised platform looking in to the courtyard) only other way would to be a rolled out 360 panorama or fish eye lens to deliberately distort.

    • Thank you! For some reason it wasn’t so bad second time around – I have drawn this building once before a couple of years ago and felt the windows very tedious then. Both times I found the roof parapet and the structures behind it very testing though, and am always glad when that part is done.

    • Cheeky, Scott, – I thought you did – but decided I’d better not say anything when I saw your picture before 😉
      I was after buildings and most of them are students’ dormitories, I don’t think I would have got away with it as the place is hardly ever completely devoid of kids. I kept it above board, pre-arranged, signed in, got a pass and was still questioned by the security guard when he found me. Just as well he had been informed I was visiting so once I explained he was fine with it and gave me some good pointers. It’s a school after all, an exclusive one at that, so I can fully understand their precautions.

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