A man for all the arts

Hugo Burge at Marchmont House, with his dog Finn. Photo: Colin Hattersley.Hugo Burge at Marchmont House, with his dog Finn. Photo: Colin Hattersley.
Hugo Burge at Marchmont House, with his dog Finn. Photo: Colin Hattersley.
The family of internet entrepreneur, investor and champion of artists and craftspeople, Hugo Burge, have spoken of their devastation following his sudden death at the age of 51.

His family said he died suddenly last Wednesday.

They said: “Hugo's kindness, intelligence, curiosity and belief in a better world made him an inspiration to us all.

“He was a beloved son and a great friend. We will miss him terribly."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After spearheading the growth of flight search website Cheapflights, and co-founding Howzat Partners, an early-stage investment fund with notable successes including Trivago and Just Spices, Hugo focused his attentions on the Marchmont Estate, acquired by his father Oliver in 1988.

Together with his father, he undertook a meticulous, eight-year restoration of Marchmont House, for which they were awarded the prestigious 2018 Historic Houses Sotheby’s Restoration Award, the Georgian Group 2017 Architectural Award for Best Restoration of a Georgian Interior.

Specific emphasis was placed on employing local craftspeople from an exceptional pool of talent and filling the house with a superb and eclectic collection of art and antiques. The influence of Hugo’s father fuelled his belief in the importance of environmental sustainability and together they worked to conserve the natural habitat of local birdlife, flora and fauna, with many native species flourishing under their stewardship of the estate.

Inspired by the ideals of the Arts & Crafts Movement, Hugo was determined to give Marchmont a larger social and cultural purpose.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He re-imagined the Palladian mansion as a ‘home to makers and creators’; hosting events and concerts, building studios, and providing workspaces for painters, printmakers, stone-carvers, chair-makers and silversmiths.

He became a vital patron and supporter of emerging and lesser-known artists, many of whose works can be seen in the house and gardens of Marchmont. In 2019 he established a new charity, Marchmont Makers Foundation.

He was also a Director of Wasps Studios – Scotland’s largest provider of art spaces, and a Patron of the Borders Art Fair.

He is survived by his father Oliver.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Related topics: