Scottish Maritime Museum premieres extraordinary exhibition capturing

the modern Scottish shipyard


Shipyard by Lachlan Goudie Friday 13th October – Monday 12th February 2018

Shipyard, a remarkable exhibition capturing the work, vibrancy and renewed optimism at shipyards on the Clyde and Forth, created by renowned Scottish artist, and broadcaster, Lachlan Goudie opens at the Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine, on Friday 13th October. 

This is the first showing of Goudie’s Shipyard, an unprecedented artistic exploration of contemporary Scottish shipbuilding across a range of different mediums.

Shipyard, which has been kindly supported by BAE Systems, features around 70 artworks documenting construction of the next generation of Britain’s naval vessels – the world leading Type 45 Destroyers and the monolithic Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

Drawing on hundreds of images Goudie created at Scotstoun, Govan and Rosyth over a seven year study between 2009 and 2016, the artworks range up to 3m x 2m in size and across a wide range of mediums. These include oil and gouache paintings, pen and ink drawings, sketches, sculptures, wood cuts and large charcoal portraits.

Shipyard, which will run at the home of Scotland’s national maritime heritage collection until 12th February 2018, brings to life both modern construction and the thousands of skilled shipyard workers creating these giant vessels.

The exhibition will go on display across the Scottish Maritime Museum’s vast Linthouse building on Irvine Harbourside. Aptly, the 1872 Linthouse was formerly the Engine Shop of Govan shipbuilders Alexander Stephen and Sons before being relocated to Irvine in 1991 to house the maritime collection.


Lachlan Goudie explains the inspiration for Shipyard and why he chose to launch the exhibition at the Scottish Maritime Museum:

“Shipyards are awe-inspiring places… the sublime sense of scale and energy, the furious and relentless pace of component panels being assembled into towering monuments of steel. 

“There is noise, there is chaos and fire, there’s a visceral sense that you’re part of a vast, industrial organism that will spit you out of the way, unless you watch your step. 

“As an artist, you hardly want to blink for fear that you’ll miss a bizarre, unworldly juxtaposition of shapes, colours, pipes and scaffolding.

“Yet, it was also important to me to capture the shipyard workers. Walking in I might have expected machismo and aggression but instead I found welders, gaffers, sparks and chippies intense and sensitive people intrigued by what I was creating. 

“Keen to dispel the idea that the yards are a vacuum of creativity and ideas, they had many enlightening things to say about my work, their environment, the principles of shipbuilding and the sophisticated craftsmanship their profession entails.

“It has been a great privilege to document the extraordinary work of the Scottish shipyards and the character, openness and identity of the people that make everything happen 

“Now I am proud to be exhibiting this work at the home of the nation’s maritime collection.

“The works were produced amidst the sparks and the steel of a working yard and it seems appropriate to me that they should be displayed at the Scottish Maritime Museum, surrounded by the engineering artefacts, the machines, templates, the models and ship’s hulls that constitute our national, maritime legacy.”


David Mann, Director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, adds:

“We are thrilled to premiere Lachlan Goudie’s spectacular study of the scope, scale and frenetic energy of the modern shipyard, the labour and skill of the thousands of workers employed there and the magnitude of their monuments to industry.

“Sir Muirhead Bone and Sir Stanley Spencer documented life in the Clyde shipyards during the first and second world wars. With Shipyard, Lachlan builds on their legacy, harnessing different mediums to create a rich picture of the Scottish shipyards of today.

“Lachlan is an immensely talented artist and his fascinating exhibition will help shine a light on Scotland’s wonderful maritime heritage.

“Visitors to Shipyard will also be able to see our growing national art collection which now includes works by artists including Ian Hamilton Finlay, Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, George Wyllie, Tom McKendrick, Muirhead Bone, Benno Schotz and Patricia Cain amongst others.”


Goudie spent seven years documenting the building of the Type 45 destroyers on the Govan slipways at BAE Systems shipyard right up to the sixth and last of these great ships to be built and have a traditional launch there, HMS Duncan.

He remained at Govan as the yard began work on the first sheets of steel for HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the two new HMS Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers which were completed by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance of BAE Systems, Babcock and Thales.

Goudie visited Rosyth to sketch HMS Queen Elizabeth. He still returns to the Rosyth yard as work on HMS Prince of Wales continues. 

For Goudie, a regular contributor to BBC1’s The Big Painting Challenge, creating Shipyard was the fulfillment of a lifelong interest in shipbuilding, which began as a child growing up in Glasgow in the early 1980s. 

After interviewing the formidable Clydeside trade unionist Jimmie Reid for a school project aged 12 and watching his father Alexander Goudie transform Brittany Ferries’ flagship Le Bretagne into a floating artwork, his interest grew into an ambition to paint and memorialise this extraordinary industry. 

Goudie, who studied at Cambridge University and Camberwell College of Arts, was named a ‘creative to watch’ by the Times newspaper in 2012.

In 2013 he became a full member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and has exhibited his work, which includes portraiture, landscapes and still life, in New York, London, Edinburgh and his home city of Glasgow, where he was born in 1976.

As well as co-presenting BBC1’s The Big Painting Challenge, Goudie has written and presented many programmes for BBC Four – ‘Secret Knowledge: The Art of Witchcraft’ (2013), ‘Stanley Spencer: The Colours of the Clyde’ (2014), the landmark series ‘The Story of Scottish Art’ (2016) and last month’s ‘Awesome Beauty: The Art of Industrial Britain’ (August 2017).


Issued on behalf of the Scottish Maritime Museum by 

Joanna Harrison, Mobile: 07884 187404.