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Linda Kosciewicz : Sodgers Pool & Inscriptions

People make history! And Sanquhar is rich in stories. Linda Kosciewicz’s initial quest during her residency was to find her subject in Sanquhar and particularly in stories of human resilience, nature and place.

“I wanted to see the extraordinary carvings done by Napoleonic prisoners on the Holm Walk. I had read about them in James Brown’s history of Sanquhar. The words inscribed in the rock were ‘luogo di delizia’, meaning ‘place of delight’ in Italian and ‘souvenir’ representing memory in French.

I wanted to find out more about the people who immortalised these words in stone. They evoked beauty, desire, romance, longing, and memory and I started to imagine who those involved might be, what they looked like, how they might have felt being so far from home, what happened at the Holm Walk and the Sodgers Pool, and why they might choose these words.

I initially found inscriptions on ancient beech trees, which was extremely exciting. These are almost certainly contemporary with the rock carvings due to their appearance and the age of the trees. But where were the rock carvings?

I had almost given up searching by day four when information from local historians Willie Dalgleish and Duncan Close showed the carvings did exist and not only that, the historians provided an indication of where they were. So I was ecstatic when I discovered them on day six with the help of Dave Rushton. The discovery, was poignant as it seemed that the inscriptions had been largely forgotten and so many people in the area did not know of their existence.

Using the words ‘luogo di delizia’ and ‘souvenir’ and associated ideas, I plan to develop work in my second week of residency and will focus on drawing and spoken word”.