Steel Upon The Sward

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Steel Upon The Sward was one of the finest cultural deposits remaining when the 1970s closed in Scotland and an age of varying degrees of darkness, inflation, hyperbole and mega-hegemony began.

It is a short film portraying a sculpture residency


NOTE: Steel Upon the Sward is IN copyright which means that someone, somewhere is hoping still to profit from it financially, and very likely at the expense of its general distribution.

Steel Upon the Sward can be watched for free (which is a way of saying that you do not pay, although nobody would call this sort of captivity 'free') on the website of the National Library of Scotland, so as you can see, some kind of happy medium has been achieved: we can watch this at liberty so long as it effectively remains state property, but we are not at liberty to edit or distribute.

Records Show


  • The National Library of Scotland Reference number of this film is: 4350
  • Date: 1976
  • Director: d. Murray Grigor
  • Sponsored by the Scottish Arts Council
  • Production company: Viz Ltd
  • Original format: 16mm
  • Running time: 22.25 mins

National Library Description

A look at the work of three sculptors, Gerald Laing, Gavin Scobie and Andrew Mylius, on the occasion of an exhibition of their work at Cleish Castle.

Michael Spens, the architect who designed Cleish Castle, invited these three Scottish sculptors to hold a summer exhibition in the grounds.

Also known as CLEISH - STEEL UPON THE SWARD. with Gerald Laing, Andrew Mylius, Gavin Scobie

  • photography: David Peat
  • sound: Ian Leslie, Louis Kramer
  • videotape Tamara Krikorian
  • graphics: Donald Holwill
  • m? The Cowans
  • editor: Patrick Higson
  • production assistant: Penelope Thomson


The shotlist is assembled on the NLS website as follows:

  • credits (0.34)
  • gvs three men emerge from misty woodlands (0.42)
  • ints and exts Cleish Castle, including castle ceiling by Paolozzi (2.18)
  • Gerald Laing gvs 60ft sculpture 'Division' at his restored home, Kinkell Castle (3.08)
  • Gerald and wife sitting 'inside' sculpture, views of sculptures, clay models and bronzes (4.39)
  • shot of spiral staircase inside castle, ints workshop and children playing on stairs (5.23)
  • c/u portrait bust of eldest son, Farquhar (5.32)
  • shots of children playing (5.37)
  • shot of his wife, Golina and sculptures inspired by her; gvs paintings and tapestries adorning walls of castle (8.15)
  • Gavin Scobie shot of him welding in workshop at home in Tarvie, a small croft in Scottish Highlands [Perthshire?] (8.33)
  • gvs landscape and croft, children flying kites (9.22)
  • ints house, Gavin having tea with family and sitting, sketching ideas (10.38)
  • gvs sculptures and shot of him loading aluminium rods into car (11.55)
  • ints cutting and welding aluminium in workshop (12.52)
  • outdoor views of sculpture in a field of long light yellow grass, from various angles (13.24)
  • ints workshop, welding Cor-Ten steel sculptures (14.29)
  • exts. of sculptures, covered in patina of rust; set into a lawn (15.13)
  • Andrew Mylius on motorbike, c/u his silk screen prints of racing cars (15.55)
  • Andrew walks alongside aeroplanes for inspiration, shots of his aluminium silk screens (16.14)
  • and his sculptures outdoors (17.48)
  • c/u shot motorbike (18.10)
  • sculpture on an island on Loch Awe, and transportation by Royal Navy helicopter as seen on a black and white television (19.12)
  • three sculptors talk about their experience of the Highland Industrial Development Board, and Scottish art scene sitting at table outdoors (20.46)
  • shot of three sculptors running through woods, making a battle cry and holding weapons; gvs sculptures in show; shot of winter sun through Laing pyramid sculpture (21.50)
  • ecs (22.25)