Jupiter Artland and its Life Mounds by Charles Jencks

Jupiter Artland Logo by Iain Mckintosh, illustrator

Edinburgh has a unbelievable private sculpture garden called Jupiter Artland, a private (no public funding!) sculptural park featuring a magical collection of outdoor land art and more. Nicky and Robert Wilson created Jupiter Artland on the grounds of their 80 acre home, Bonnington House in West Lothian. It is what they call, "their life's work."

Jupiter Artland is open on weekends, during the summer, for a modest entrance fee.

Photo from Times On Line of Life Mounds at Jupiter Artland

The marvels they feature include a Charles Jencks earth sculpture called Life Mounds which is bisected by the driveway up to the house.  See above photo.

Jupiter Artland Map by Iain McIntosh, illustrator

Robert Wilson, in an interview with Anna Burnside of the Sunday Times said, "“I dislike private collections that are not open to the public,"  He wants to share his wonder with others. “Otherwise it’s like King Midas, sitting on his own, counting his money.”

Amen to that!!!  Wilson explained their initial vision, “We wanted to find sculptors we really like...We wanted to start at the very top, to create signature pieces that would give the park status.”
Jupiter Artland is indeed a fabulous legacy for Robert and Nicky Wilson to leave to the world.

The story of Jupter Artland is even more poignant because Wilson's family owns Nelson’s, a homeopathic medicine firm behind Rescue Remedy (tag line: Yoga in a Bottle). I love the idea that homeopathy paid for this landscape art extravaganza.

And Nicky Wilson spearheaded this amazing park:

She studied at Camberwell and Chelsea art colleges, then found Bonnington House, then  relocated the family, and then looked up Jencks in the phone book and persuaded him to build Life Mounds, his largest piece to date, on their land! (this info courtesy of Anna Burnside article)

Jencks'  vision for his Life Mounds required Robert Wilson  to beg a neighboring farmer to sell him an adjoining field  Wilson told Anna Burnside, “Did he think we were bonkers? Of course, absolutely. But he came to the opening and seemed very impressed.”

The Jencks piece took “five bloody years” from the first digger full of earth to the final lawn seeding. But it was well worth the effort. 

Here is the statement by Charles Jencks on his Life Mounds:
"Eight landforms and a connecting causeway surround four lakes and a flat parterre for sculpture exhibits.

The theme is the life of the cell, cells as the basic units of life, and the way one cell divides into two in stages called mitosis (presented in a red sandstone rill).

Curving concrete seats have cell models surrounded by Liesegang rocks.

Their red iron concentric circles bear an uncanny relationship to the many organelles inside the units of life.

From above, the layout presents their early division into membranes and nuclei, a landform celebration of the cell as the basis of life."

There are other amazing pieces here such as Andy Goldsworthy's Stone Coppice — 54 boulders inserted into coppiced sycamore trees — and  Peter Liversidge's signpost pointing to the planet Jupiter. Wilson ultimately says that his Jupiter Artland. “....gives the woods a reason for being. It becomes so much more than a pretty landscape.” 

...and then some.

This is a Great short video on The Wilsons and their Jupiter Artland - phenomenal!


  1. this is a fabulous garden...my list is growing of gardens to visit...

  2. This is beautiful. I have been a fan of Charles Jencks work for years and have always wanted to see his Garden of Cosmic Speculation. Jupiter Artland has Jenck's Life Mounds as well as work by Andy Goldsworthy, one of my favorite artists. I love how Jencks uses scientific concepts and makes them into earth art. I have to plan a trip to Edinburgh very soon!

  3. That was beautiful and artistically design landscape... very creative

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  4. Wow, these landscapes are true marvels. I hope I get the cahnce to see them up close some day.

  5. i hate this place, what a graveyard


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