Ruth Barker

If Strength of Body Be (Proposed Memorial)

New Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh

Proposal for Permanent Work


Commissioning Agent: Scottish Executive

Site: New Scottish Parliament Building

Description: Shortlisted design for a memorial to the Scottish Suffrage movement. A glass case with a text screen-printed onto it was to hold collections of Scottish gemstones representing the colours of the Suffrage movement: purple (amethysts), green (agates), and white (pearls). The text explained the significance of these colours to the movement, and expanded them to suggest the broader ideals of a democratic society.

Case 1 - amethyst:     For the instinct for freedom and dignity


Case 2 - pearl:            For Honesty in private and in public life


Case 3 – agate:          For Hope and for Optimism.

The use of Scottish gemstones reflected the landscape theme running throughout the Parliament Building, and was intended to suggest the structural underpinning of the idea of equality and representation. The stones were to be ethically sourced by Hamilton and Inches, while the display case (lit fibre-optically and humidity controlled to maintain the stone’s lustre) was to be designed and fabricated by Hamilton and Inches, Edinburgh. The stones were to be presented on a ‘horizon-line’ shelf within the cases.

This work was not chosen by the final selection panel at presentation.

Duration: this work is unrealised.