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Nethercroy Roman Head Sculpture: Artist Commission

Posted on: 24/10/2019


This project forms part of a wider “Rediscovering the Antonine Wall” project working across central Scotland to build better connections for communities and visitors along the length of the Antonine Wall. The project is managed by a Steering Group of five local authorities (West Dunbartonshire, Glasgow City, East Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk Councils) and Historic Environment Scotland.  The project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Kelvin Valley & Falkirk LEADER, WREN, Falkirk Community Trust and each of the partner organisations. 

Archaeological discoveries along the line of the Antonine Wall have determined that the construction of the Wall involved the erection of carved stone ‘Distance Slabs’ which celebrated the achievements of the Roman Legions responsible for each section of the wall. The majority of these Distance Slabs were recovered and are now displayed in the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow.

In 2017 proposals were developed for the siting and interpretation of 5 replica Roman Distance Stones across the length of the Antonine Wall and included small landscape and environmental improvements to these locations. The 5 sites are situated in each of the 5 local authorities that the Antonine Wall passes through; West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk. Funding has been achieved to carry these proposals through to completion.

Proposals for the Distance Stone Sites were developed by landscape architects LUC on behalf of the project partners and at two of the five sites, large sculptural installations were proposed to support and promote the ‘Rediscovery of the Antonine Wall’. For these two sites outline concepts were developed for sculptural Roman ‘heads’ to be located in prominent sites capable of creating landmarks and raising awareness of the local Roman influence. The outline proposals include for the creation of heads of a legionaire and a centurion, interpreted in different materials suited to the forms of the helmets. LUC’s final Stage 3 report and concept proposals are included in the Appendix of this document. The Roman Heads would signify the presence of the Distance Stones and help to attract passers by to the interpretation.

This tender is for the sculptural installation for Nethercroy. A suitably experienced sculptor/ artist is sought to design, create and install a new piece of permanent public art for the Nethercroy sites (North Lanarkshire Council area) to celebrate the Roman heritage and raise awareness of the Antonine Wall World Heritage site.  NB A separate brief has been issued for the Lambhill Stables site. 

The design should respect the intentions set out in LUC’s proposals and the artist will be required to liaise with LUC who is the lead consultant and landscape architect for the project. The budget for the design, construction and installation of the sculpture is £30,000 and the deadline for completion (including fabrication of the head and it being ready for installation) is April 2020.

The commission is being delivered by the Rediscovering the Antonine Wall project.  The key organisations involved in this commission are West Dunbartonshire Council, Glasgow City Council and Historic Environment Scotland, in addition to Forsestry & Land Scotland who own the Nethercroy site. 


Project Scope

The project scope is outlined below. It is based on proposals developed by LUC which were endorsed by stakeholder and community engagement. The development of designs for the sculpture will be subject to design approval by the key stakeholders, client and LUC.


1.    The piece should have a commanding presence at the path junction above the small car parking area. It will become an iconic image promoting the presence of the Antonine Wall in the Nethercroy area.


2.    The piece should represent a Roman Centurion’s head distinguished by the helmet.


3.    Its construction should allow the creation of a large feature which is structurally stable and robust (i.e. capable of conveying the helmet plume while withstanding wind loadings and potential vandalism)


4.    Due to the nature of the site, the sculptures being created must be formed in small segments like a jigsaw that are able to be lifted by construction plant on-site (approx. 125-250kg each) from their stored/construction location and then put and fixed into position.


5.    At Nethercroy LUC’s proposals suggest the use of Corten (self-rusting) steel as a material capable of achieving the structural requirements and creating a distinctive feature with low maintenance. Whilst Corten may or may not be put forward in the final output, it is the intention that the Roman Head at Nethercroy is different in character to that proposed for ‘Lambhill Stables’ and suggests the use of different materials or other interpretive measures.


6.    The Distance Stone will be sited close to the sculpture, together with interpretation which will explain the stone, the sculpture and which will promote the Antonine Wall. The Distance Stone and associated elements will be delivered separately by the project team but the sculptor must be aware of the wider site proposals to ensure the sculpture is an integrated feature.


7.    The sculpture must be suitable for unsupervised site use i.e. the design should not be dangerous to visitors and have no sharp edges. It should be difficult to climb and difficult to damage. Anti-vandal paint or coating should be considered.


8.    The piece should be effectively cost neutral to maintain and not cause difficulties for the maintenance regime for the area around it. Vandal proof coating should be considered.


9.    We wish to be informed about the materials you intend to use, method of fabrication, site access required, assembly and method of erection on the designated site. It is expected that at the more developed stage the artist will provide installation drawings and methodology.


10.  The installation period on site will take no longer than a maximum of 4 weeks.


11.  The artist will be able to work with the project team’s engineers in order to provide assurance that the sculptures are structurally sound in terms of foundations and wind/load bearing capacity.


12.  The sculpture should be co-ordinated to be available and erected at the time required by the main contractor for the external works for the overall Antonine Wall Replica Roman Distance Slabs Project. This means the sculpture should be ready for installation by the beginning of April 2020.




Please  contact Jennifer Ramage, to receive the detailed brief, including details for the submission process. The final submission deadline is 15th November 2019 at midnight.