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Dunnet Bay Distillery in call for artwork to celebrate historic Thurso botanist, Robert Dick, who rediscovered Northern Holy Grass

By John Davidson

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This piece by Joanne B Kaar was inspired by Robert Dick's herbarium. Picture courtesy of Joanne B Kaar, Brough
This piece by Joanne B Kaar was inspired by Robert Dick's herbarium. Picture courtesy of Joanne B Kaar, Brough

The most northerly distillery on the British mainland is scouring the UK for artwork to feature in a new exhibition.

Dunnet Bay Distillery will feature Robert Dick, a 19th century baker, botanist and amateur natural historian who rediscovered a plant which gives its name to one of the company's leading brands.

Holy Grass is the name given to Dunnet Bay's vodka, after Northern Holy Grass was found by Dick on the banks of the River Thurso – a subject on which he published a scientific paper in 1854.

It had been believed to have been extinct in the UK from 1750, but after publication of his paper it was reintroduced to the list of British flora.

After the success of the distillery's inaugural Inspired by Gin exhibition in winter 2019/2020, Dunnet Bay Distillery is now on the hunt for "exceptional artwork" to feature in its 2022/2023 winter exhibition, Holy Grass Hero: The Life of Robert Dick.

The exhibition will take place from November until March in the visitor centre at Dunnet Bay Distillery, which is located on the North Coast 500 and Land's End to John O’Groats routes.

Artwork can be in any medium, including paintings, ceramics, textiles, glass, sculpture, photographs, and much more. Video artists should contact the distillery before submitting work for the exhibition. Artwork just needs to be inspired and connected to the life of Robert Dick, which can be interpreted in a variety of diverse ways from the Holy Grass used to make Holy Grass vodka to the plants that grow in Caithness, or the landscape of Caithness which inspired Robert Dick to collect fossils, insects and plants.

All two-dimensional work for hanging must be framed and/or ready to hang and must be a maximum of 75cm high and, where possible, for sale. The distillery will take 20 per cent commission on any work sold which it will donate to Dunnet Forestry Trust.

To find out more about the exhibition and submit artwork, contact Joanne Howdle by emailing joanneh@rockrosegin.co.uk or telephoning 01847 851287.

The deadline for submission forms is September 30, with art delivered by November 1.

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