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Home  >  News  >  New Sculpture for 'Island Parish' Church in Shetland


New Sculpture for 'Island Parish' Church in Shetland

Photo by Ted Harrison

A DISTINCTIVE new cut steel sculpture has been mounted on the bell tower of the Church of Scotland's most northerly church.

Fashioned from cut steel and mounted on drift wood from a nearby beach, the fish shaped sculpture at St John's Church on the island of Unst is the work of local artist Ted Harrison. The church, which is linked with Fetlar and Yell and the work of minister, the Rev David Cooper, featured on the recent BBC series 'An Island Parish' in 2015.

Describing the inspiration for the work,Ted explained: "I have intertwined the first words of Genesis with the first words of St John’s Gospel, both starting with the words 'In the beginning'. The mirror finish steel is designed to catch the rising sun on the shortest day and be fully lit from dawn to midday on St John’s Day, mid summer.

"The idea was both to create a new version of the ancient Christian symbol of the fish and celebrate the modern-day fishing and aquaculture industries of Shetland. I hope the work will survive many winters here on Scotland’s most northerhly island and I have designed it so that I can also recreate it in a number of possible sizes for other churches."

The artist's previous works have included the focus of Remembrance under the dome of London’s St Paul’s Cathedral in 2011 and a wall sculpture at Guy’s Hospital, London honouring organ donors. At his Unst studio he has also just completed 15 images for Gloucester Cathedral to be shown during Lent 2017 reflecting on world conflicts of the last century.


Nicolas Thomas - Friday, September 23rd, 2016

“Great article! I also saw this in the secular press and they didn't even say what "words" the symbol is made of.”

Rev. Anthony Lang - Sunday, July 30th, 2017

“What a wonderful story! My wife Janet and I lived in Baltasound, Unst, where St John's is situated in 2008. I was a locum for the parish of the North Isles - Unst, Yell and Fetlar. We loved our time there. Having an Australian Presbyterian minister was a bit unusual for them - and living in Shetland was very unusual for us! The story has revived many great memories. We love the photo of the fish, and the words from Genesis and St John on the tower of the Church. We'd love to return one day. Many of the memories are contained in a book I wrote, under the pseudonym of "Lachlan Ness" - 'A Kangaroo Loose in Shetland'.
Thanks for the memories and may God continue to bless the work of the Church there.”

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