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Friday, May 17, 2024

Black Isle and Easter Ross Area Committee Recommend Sale of Bouchardon Bust to Full Council

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Following the conclusion of a public consultation members of the Black Isle and Easter Ross Area Committee have agreed to recommend to full council that the Bourchardon Bust in Invergordon be sold by private sale.

The decision to recommend the sale of the bust, sculpted in the early 18th century and depicting late landowner and MP Sir John Gordon, follows a public consultation which sought the community’s views on its disposal by sale.

The bust is an asset of Invergordon Common Good Fund and was purchased by Invergordon Town Council in 1930.

Since the purchase, the value of sculptures by Edmé Bouchardon has increased significantly with the current value of this bust being in excess of £2.5m.

Due to the high value and associated security risks the bust cannot be displayed publicly, and it has now been held for a number of years in secure storage.

Invergordon Common Good fund has little else in the way of assets or property that can generate income.

An options appraisal commissioned was commissioned by the former Easter Ross Area Committee in October 2023, which suggested it would be beneficial to consider the sale of the bust.

Chair of the Black Isle and Easter Ross Area Committee, Cllr Lyndsey Johnston, said:

“Any proceeds received would represent a capital receipt for Invergordon Common Good fund, which could offer the potential for investment that would result in the generation of an ongoing income stream for Invergordon Common Good.

“This would then be available to be used for the benefit of the Invergordon community.”

She added:

“The community and visitors will be able to enjoy the replica bust and the history behind the original for years to come.”

Members at the meeting of the Black Isle and Easter Ross Area Committee approved the responses to the representations received within the consultation period, which will now be published Highland Council’s website.

Members took cognisance of representations received through the consultation and what represented the best interests of the Invergordon Common Good Fund before agreeing to recommend to full Council that the bust be disposed of via private sale.

Members further agreed the investigation of the inclusion of a re-sale clause.

Committee members further agreed that a museum quality replica should be commissioned. 

If approval is recommended, it will be necessary to seek Sheriff Court consent as the bust is considered inalienable (a category of common good that requires court consent to dispose).

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