The home of one of Scotland’s most celebrated sculptors is close to being of unique national importance.
Tim Stead died in 2000, aged 48, leaving a body of public work that includes contributions to the Millennium Clock at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh as well as Cafe Gandolfi in Glasgow and a memorial chapel for oil industry workers in Aberdeen.
The Steading, his private Borders house in Blainslie, is a monument to his accomplishments with wood, including a wooden sink.
The Tim Stead Trust has been campaigning to raise funds to buy the property and open it as a tourist attraction.
Stead’s widow, Maggy Lenert, was willing to sell the house for £450,000, well below market value, and held off retiring to her native France for the campaign. However, her funds were exhausted a year earlier than the trust had anticipated so a last-ditch appeal was started to save the house and other works for the nation.
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is now looking to deem the building to be of Category A status, which would afford it legal protection.
“The Steading is an outstanding ex-ample of an entirely and largely complete original artistic interior of sculpted wood fixtures and fittings, by the celebrated artist Tim Stead,” it said in a report. “Because of the hands-on approach the artist took in producing his work and the necessary time this took, his output could not be considerable and the work that survives is rare.”
Nichola Fletcher, chairwoman of the trust, said: “To have HES saying it is of national and international significance is music to our ears.
“To be completely blunt, we have got absolutely nowhere near enough money to buy it, but we are not giving up hope. We are making an application to the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Whether they will accept it or not I don’t know, but this A-listing is a huge boost to that.
“What we are really looking for is for a wealthy benefactor to come forward, for whom £500,000 is really loose change in a back pocket.”
An HES spokesman said that a decision would be made on the listing after March 6 this year.
The Times | Saturday February 29 2020
Reproduced with permission.