Grouse Sculptures and The Glorious Twelfth

It’s the Glorious Twelfth.

I’ve written before about my love of game birds, particularly grouse. They are a subject I find myself returning to again and again in my work. I’ve made many grouse sculptures over the years and spent many happy days in their habitat on the moors in the Highlands of Scotland and the North of England.

sculpture in bronze of grouse

Native to the uplands of Britain, the Red Grouse is the king of game birds. In 2018, I was lucky enough to visit Blanchland Moor in Northumberland to study them. I spent several days photographing grouse shortly after August 12th with a fast 85mm sigma prime lens which captured the pin sharp details of their flight. Grouse fly low and fast, hugging contours, with eyes level and often with beaks open. The information gathered in photos, which was too quick to record with the naked eye, helped to inspire Grouse 2019 and Grouse Flushing 2019.

Hamish Mackie's Grouse sculpture

From a sculptor’s point of view, the challenge is always how to show a bird in flight without it appearing to be supported. Lockbund Foundry have become experts at rising to the challenge when casting my compositions! Together we always manage to find a balance between the aesthetic and the technical. As a sculptor, I really enjoy working out how to make heavy lumps of metal look like they are flying! Grouse 2019 and Grouse Flushing 2019 are dynamic grouse sculptures showing birds in flight.

sculpture of grouse

The last century saw a worrying decline in numbers of Black Grouse across Europe. However, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust reports an encouraging upturn recently due to careful habitat management. Moorland conservation measures such as reducing grazing and increasing tree cover in winter have improved breeding numbers. This is excellent news. I’m really fond of these lively birds. My Black Grouse 2013 shows the bird displaying, its distinctive lyre-shaped tail fanned out to reveal the under tail feathers.

Black Grouse bronze sculpture

The Glorious Twelfth has been part of the British country diary since 1773 when an Act of Parliament was passed to restrict the shooting and purchase of grouse between the 10th December and 12th August. Shooting tourism is now worth in excess of £30 million a year in Scotland and around £150 million in the UK overall. Of course, the social restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic mean that this year’s season will inevitably look a little different.

grouse flying over moorland

Yesterday, the picture below ran in The Times, The Telegraph and The Edinburgh Reporter. My grouse sculptures continue to be popular with both sporting collectors and nature lovers. All my game bird sculptures reflect my love of the British countryside and my interest in country life.

All Hamish’s sculptures can be shipped worldwide directly from the studio.  If you’d like to enquire about grouse sculptures or arrange a studio visit, give us a ring.  +44 (0) 7971 028 098 / +44 (0) 1608 737 859. If you’d like to be put on our mailing list to receive one of our new catalogues later in the year, sign up on our contact page.