The World’s Biggest Horse Sculpture Completed

Art, Scotland

The Kelpies sculpture in Falkirk has been unveiled and the 30 metre (100ft) horses heads can boast to be the largest equine sculpture in the world.

Andy Scott who is the Scottish artist who designed the structure said:
“They are quite cinematic, the way that they sit in the atmosphere, if it is misty or if it is raining they actually sit in the atmosphere in a way I could never imagine.”

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The Kelpies during construction

The eye catching duo sit next to Glasgow’s M8 and the Forth & Clyde canal and can be seen from both. They are part of a £43m redevelopment of 350 hectares of land between Falkirk and Grangemouth, known as the Helix Project. The Kelpies are a monument to the working horses of Scotland who once worked in the fields and pulled barges along the canals right next to where the Kelpies now stand.

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The Kelpies are based on the majestic Clydesdale horses

The building of the Kelpies began in the summer of 2013, however the sculptor’s 1:10 scale models, known as ‘maquettes’, have been displayed locally and worldwide at events and locations from Edinburgh International Airport, the Field Museum in Grant Park, Chicago, Glasgow and Sheffield International Steel Celebration. They are presently touring Scotland and America simultaneously and The Kelpies were the only European sculptures selected for exhibition at the prestigious Chicago Sculpture International in the USA.

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Scale models, known as ‘maquettes’ in the making

The sculptor said:

“It is almost eight years since I did the first sketches on the kitchen table of my then girlfriend – now wife’s – kitchen table in Amsterdam. So to see them completed is both humbling and fantastic.

“I have always been fascinated with horses and the heavy horse was at one time the driving force in industry until after the industrial revolution.”

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The name ‘Kelpie’ comes from the water spirit of Scottish folklore, typically taking the form of a horse and reputed to delight in the drowning of travellers.

The Helix project was funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals. Jackie Killeen, director of the Big Lottery Fund Scotland, said: “This is the single biggest investment the Big Lottery Fund has made in Scotland and we are confident that this living landmark will be truly transformational.”

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Some Interesting Statistics about the Kelpies:

  • 5.5 kilometres of steel were used for the ‘skeleton’.
  • Each horse is 300 tonnes.
  • The foundations are 30 X 35 metres deep.
  • There are 990 ‘skin’ plates.
  • 1 Horse is 26.5 metres/ 87ft and the other 30 metres/ 98ft high.

The stunning sculptures can be seen from miles around, but will be open to visitors to have a close up look from spring 2014.

For more information visit: www.thehelix.co.uk/discover-helix/the-kelpies/


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