The spectacular 19th Century Gothic house, Mount Stuart, was born out of the vision and personal passions of the 3rd Marquess of Bute, and over the years has expanded and developed its themes according to the interests of successive family owners. For Gallaccio the context was both an inspirational and overwhelming starting point; it was challenging to add anything to the environment, which was already saturated in detail. Her intention was to explore the possibility of intervening in a discreet way – to make something new, but to work within the existing ethos and in the original spirit of how the place came to be.
While the house and gardens have been designed and decorated using scientific themes such as botany and astronomy, they also function as spaces of fantasy and daydreaming. The interventions that Gallaccio has proposed, whilst simple and straightforward, are potentially places to drift and imagine. Inspired by the 18th and 19th Century planting of European and North American conifers within the gardens, she has created a huge silver tree on the eastern edge of the Victorian pinetum. A series of silver gelatin prints of microscopic images of conifer seed are exhibited in the Gallery and selected loaned glass and bronze sculpture is placed in the main reception rooms at Mount Stuart. These sit alongside the permanent collection, including a bronze and silver tree purchased for Paisley Museum and Art Galleries by The National Collecting Scheme for Scotland.