Workers at British Gypsum’s Marblaegis mine at East Leake are to be featured in a documentary film which will present the story of alabaster at a Scottish museum as part of its ‘renaissance’.
The British Gypsum team has worked with representatives of the Burrell Collection – a world-class collection of over 9,000 treasures which is part of Glasgow Museums. The Collection’s home at Pollok Country Park, to the south of the city, is undergoing a £66m refurbishment and will reopen in spring 2021.
Among the thousands of artefacts on show will be one of the most important collections of English alabaster in the world. Gypsum, as well as being used now in many day-to-day applications such as plasterboard and dentistry, has also been used for thousands of years as alabaster – a carving material for artworks.
The East Leake miners were filmed underground at work, extracting gypsum. The final film will be displayed alongside some of the Burrell Collection’s alabaster sculpture, presenting the story of alabaster from extraction to finished product.
British Gypsum’s mine manager Dale Whittaker said: “It’s not every day that we get to showcase our gypsum extraction work on film. It was a pleasure to be involved in this project which will emphasise the importance of gypsum through the ages and make the link between gypsum and the unique alabaster works on display in the Burrell Collection. We look forward to hearing how the British Gypsum film installation is received when the Collection reopens next year.”
Claire Blakey, Project Curator working on the redevelopment of the Burrell Collection adds: “Being able to show visitors to the museum all the stages of production needed to create the intricate alabaster sculptures on display is really important. Although the Burrell alabasters were made in the Medieval period, the extraction of gypsum in the Midlands was the first step to making a sculpture then, as it continues to be today. ”