The Sawpit Studio

The Studio was originally built about 250 years ago as the Sawpit for the Heligan estate when logs were dragged in by a horse and then cut into planks and beams by two men using a pit saw. One above, standing on the log (the top-dog) and the other below in the pit, covered in sweat and sawdust, (the under-dog).

When we bought The Wagon House in 1997 the Sawpit had become a ruin with only two cob walls standing and the brick piers opposite to support the roof.

In 1999 we commenced the restoration and it came into full use as our studio early in 2000. The Sawpit, thirty feet long and six feet deep still remains beneath the floor as a little piece of Heligan history.

Nowadays, the Sawpit is in full time use again, either for the Botanical Painting classes or as a Photographic Studio. A collection of old saws are attached to the roof beams.

For the Painting classes, it has tables and chairs for up to 12 students, a large reference library of books on plants and painting, together with tea/coffee making facilities. When in use by Charles Francis as a Photographic studio for portraits, it is converted to a large open space with a 10 foot wide background roll and various lighting set-ups to achieve a variety of effects. Alternatively it can be set up for items as small as individual rings for jewellery photos.