The Kelpies


Maquettes from which the final works will be produced.

Given the choice between Thomas Heatherwick’s B of the Bang sculpture—a vast bundle of metal spikes situated near the City of Manchester Stadium—and Andy Scott’s proposal for The Kelpies, a pair of giant horse heads due to be erected in Falkirk, Scotland, I’d probably prefer the latter as a piece of colossal public art. Horse heads, from the Selene horse of the Parthenon onwards, are especially suited to statuesque representation and the horse has a venerable history as a symbol in the British countryside. It should be noted that between the two works, Andy Scott has the better location, Heatherwick’s giant piece is stuck in a redeveloped area near busy roads which makes its rusted spikes seem like leftovers from the stadium’s construction. He’s also been unfortunate in having created a work which began falling apart as soon as it was finished, with falling spikes causing a public hazard and a lengthy row with Manchester City Council which was only resolved this week.


Scott’s enormous horse heads will be standing alone and monumental in newly-created parkland, symbolically representing a gateway to Scotland as they flank and help operate a canal lock. Kelpies is the name for the “water-horses” of Scottish myth and Scott’s Kelpies will stand 35 metres high, taller than the Angel of the North. Unlike Anthony Gormley’s static monument they’ll move back and forth as the level of the locks rises and falls. Scott’s website has more pictures of the maquettes as well as photos of his other public works.

Update: ‘Bang’ sculpture to be taken down

The Kelpies at Falkirkonline
Meet the Kelpies, Scotland’s giant addition to the UK sculptural skyline

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Dark horses
Planet by Marc Quinn