Archives and Research

Stirling Castle Palace Research Reports

Interpretation of the Exterior Sculpture and The Identification and Interpretation of the Stirling Heads

Front cover of Stirling Castle Palace Interpretation Exterior Sculpture

Research on the stone sculpture and wood carvings, the Stirling Heads, from the Renaissance palace at Stirling Castle began in 2003 and was intended to support the re-presentation and interpretation of the palace, completed in 2009. 

For the first time in over two hundred years, the Stirling Heads can be seen together in a dedicated gallery space on the first floor. With so many individual sculptures and carvings to identify and interpret within a limited time frame, the thinking around each one was taken to a point of sufficient understanding but no further. The research, however, remains ongoing. 

Individual Stirling Heads have been revisited and contextualised with more complexity and depth: see Sally Rush, ‘The Stirling Heads: an essay in nobility’, in Bøggild Johannsen, B. and Ottenheym, K. (eds.) Beyond Scylla and Charybdis: European courts and court residences outside Habsburg and Valois/Bourbon territories 1500-1700. Series: Publications from the National Museum: studies in archaeology & history (24). University Press of Southern Denmark: Odense, pp. 225-236; Sally Rush, ‘Looking at Mary of Guise’, Etudes Epistémè, 37 (2020) - (doi: 10.16995/ntn.2897). Future publications on Scottish Renaissance sculpture are planned