Scotland’s Glenfinnan Viaduct bridge was built and opened back in 1901, but made world-famous by its appearances in the Harry Potter films. (The Hogwarts Express traverses the dramatic architectural overpass to take Harry and his pals to school.) So, when Visit Scotland launched its new iKnow Scotland online community and accompanying #ScotSpirit campaign, it seemed only right to kick off the promotion with a tribute to both the viaduct and the sorcery-inspired series, both storied elements in Scotland’s history. London-based (but Edinburgh-raised) sculptor Thomas Wightman was the man who made the magic happen.
Asked to “illustrate the memory of Scotland,” Wightman took a vintage book and carved the bridge from its pages, complete with a tiny, intricate train. The mountainous landscape bursts forth from the layered backdrop, with wispy trees surrounded by scattered letters of the alphabet like fallen leaves—an allusion to the textured tales that underlay the country’s unique cultural passage from past to present to future.
Wightman is no stranger to complex sculpture with books for material. In the past, he’s created larger trains, boats, and butterflies from other used tomes, making visual metaphors for human thoughts and emotions. This one, however, feels especially spellbinding.