Video shows how giant horse-head sculptures will look

A video using computer-generated footage has been released to show how two massive horse-head sculptures, standing up to 30 metres tall and weighing more than 300 tonnes apiece, will look once in position above the Forth & Clyde canal in Scotland.

Artist's impression of The Kelpies.
Artist’s impression of The Kelpies.

The steel-plated equine sculptures known as the Kelpies, created by Glasgow-based Andy Scott, are set to form a dramatic gateway in Falkirk at the eastern entrance of the Helix, a major £43 million land transformation project between Falkirk and Grangemouth which will ultimately be a major visitor attraction.

They will sit either side of a specially constructed lock and basin, part of the redeveloped Canal Hub.

The components of the artworks have been produced by SH Structures at its North Yorkshire yard.

The horse-head components will be erected onsite in just 75 days.

In all, 100 separate deliveries of parts will be made to complete the artworks. There are 495 individual “skin” components that form each head.

Preparation work has been ongoing at the site for months and the foundations alone weigh 1600 tonnes.

Erection of the heads is under way and is expected to be finished as early as mid-August.

Horses’ heads were envisaged for the site from the outset, because of the animal’s links to the the region’s industrial heritage and the Scots legend of water-based mythical horses, or kelpies.

Scott’s vision for the Kelpies follows the lineage of the heavy horse of industry and economy, pulling the wagons and ploughs, barges and coalships that shaped the structural layout of the area.

Sculptor Andy Scott with his inspiration.
Sculptor Andy Scott with his inspiration.

Scott said the original concept of mythical water horses was a valid starting point for the artistic development of the structures.

“From the original sketches of 2006 I deliberately styled the sculptures as heavy horses. In early proposal documents I referred to Clydesdales, Shires and Percherons, of the fabled equus magnus of the northern countries.

“I wrote of working horses. Of their role in the progress of modern society, as the powerhouses of the early industrial revolution, the tractors of early agriculture and, of course, the first source of locomotion for barges on the Forth & Clyde canal, which The Kelpies will soon inhabit.”

The materials that will make up the finished Kelpies were deliberately chosen to be those of Scotland’s former industrial heartland – steel construction on an architectural scale.


Earlier report: Massive horse-head sculptures for Scotland


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