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Robert Burns bust goes contactless for National Trust for Scotland

Robert Burns bust goes contactless for National Trust for Scotland

National Trust for Scotland has turned a Robert Burns bust and a historical painting into contactless donations points at two of its historic sites.

The charity has created replicas of a 200-year-old bust of Robert Burns at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayrshire, and a 1766 painting of Colonel William Gordon, the military general and courtier, at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire. Through a partnership with Bank of Scotland and VISA, the replicas accept contactless donations, with visitors tapping on both to give £2.



The Robert Burns bust was created using 3D scanning technology to build a mould that captured every detail of the original. This mould was then scaled up to human proportions with a hand with an in-built contactless device then created on a separate plinth.  The charity also applied a marble-effect finish to match the look and feel of the original.


A pastiche painter recreated Fyvie Castle’s most famous painting by Pompeo Batoni, adding subtle new details such as the goddess Roma holding a contactless card, and the contactless reader, which was painted using 18th-century-style brush strokes, in the hand of William Gordon. Workers in high-vis jackets are also hidden within the painting as a nod to the Trust’s conservation work. Once completed, toner was added by specialists at the British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers, to ‘un-restore’ the painting and make it match the look of the original.

The replicas are part of the National Trust for Scotland’s Tap the Past to Preserve the Future initiative.

Chief Executive, Simon Skinner said:

“Like all charities, we face a significant fundraising challenge as cash donations have fallen sharply in recent years. This initiative could not come at a more crucial time and will enable us to accept contactless donations at our sites for the first time.”


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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