On Friday, just over a year since the Kelpies were opened to the public at The Helix in Falkirk, one-tenth scale models of the celebrated equine sculptures will go on display in The Square, Kelso.
Beautiful in their own right the Kelpie Maquettes have appeared in several UK cities as well Chicago and New York. During Scotland Week 2014, wee Kelpies were displayed in Bryant Park, New York where they received a very warm, appreciative welcome.
It seems fitting that the Kelpies should pay a visit to the Scottish Borders where horses have always, and continue to play, a prominent role through events such as the common ridings and this weekends Floors Castle International Horse Trials.
As well as fulfilling an important role making the Kelpies accessible to a broader audience and publicising the Helix based artworks at home and abroad, the maquettes were integral to successfully realising the vision of Scottish sculptor, Andy Scott. Building the 3m high maquettes allowed Scott and his team of engineers and construction specialists to refine the aesthetics and production techniques.
One important change from an early maquette of the Kelpies was the orientation of the individual, handcut steel panels that form the ‘skin’ of the maquette horses. Originally they followed a random orientation but artist Scott realised that unifying them vertically gives the sculptures more inherent dynamism, energy and life, as the horses seem to rear out of the ground where they mark the entrance to the Forth and Clyde Canal.
Kelpies Facts & Figures
• In Scots mythology a Kelpie is a water horse that lives in lochs and rivers.
• The Kelpies were inspired by the Heavy Clydesdale Horses that worked the canal and the surrounding area.
• Carnera, reputed to be the world’s largest horse, hauled delivery wagons around Falkirk in the 1930s for Barrs soft drinks company, creators of Irn-Bru.
• It took 8 years of planning, and one year of fabrication and construction to create the Kelpies. At 30m (100ft) high they are the tallest equine sculptures in the world.
• The one tenth scale maquettes of The Kelpies were galvanized in zinc at the factory of Highland Colour Coaters at Cumbernauld to protect them from corrosion.
• A team of 30 welder fabricators assembled the internal structures of the horses, before painting and eventually installing them on site.
• The techniques used to construct the Kelpies are similar to the skills and techniques used in shipbuilding.
• 18,000 individual components are in each Kelpie, and both weigh approximately 300 tonnes.
• The foundations are approximately 1200 tons and the piles reach 32 metres to bedrock below.
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