Kelpies artist says Billy Connolly sculpture ‘would be fantastic way to pay tribute’ to legendary Scottish comedian

The artist behind ​the iconic Kelpies hopes to one day immortalise Sir Billy Connolly in welded steel as a nod to the legendary Glasgow comedian’s past as a welder on the Clyde.

Sunday, 19th September 2021, 1:02 pm
Updated Sunday, 19th September 2021, 2:45 pm

Scottish sculptor Andy Scott has created some of the nation’s largest pieces of public art, and his portfolio of more than 80 contemporary projects can be found both in the UK and in many corners of the world.

Some stand as tall as 10m high – 33ft – like Arria, known locally as ‘Angel of the Nauld’ to the local residents of Cumbernauld.

His giant Air Spirit strides towards the Ochil Hills, reflecting the natural landscape and rich biodiversity of Clackmannanshire.

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The magnificent Kelpies - two leviathan horse heads dwarfing commuters passing along the nearby M9 motorway. Picture: Jamie Forbes

But his largest public art piece by some margin is the magnificent Kelpies – two leviathan horse heads dwarfing commuters passing along the nearby M9 motorway.

Now Scott, who recently won the commission to create permanent statues of Manchester City legends Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, has said he wants to honour Sir Billy.

Speaking to The Times, the 56-year-old said Connolly “has been an informal ambassador for Glasgow and Scotland for decades and has to be one of the funniest comedians ever, as well as a great actor and all-round entertainer”.

Scott, himself a former welder, added that a Connolly sculpture “would be a fantastic way to pay tribute to him and the impact he’s had on Scottish culture”.

Andy Scott, the artist behind the majestic Kelpies, hopes to one day depict Scots comedian Sir Billy Connolly, pictured.

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In 2011, Scott unveiled a huge steel mural of Connolly on a wall in Glasgow as part of a £50 million regeneration project.

The 20ft (6m) by 16ft (4.8m) mural is near the comedian's birthplace in Anderston, overlooking the shipyards where he once worked as a welder and can be seen from the Kingston Bridge.

At the time, Connolly said he was humbled by the 500kg artwork, commissioned by the Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association.

“It is an unexpected honour for which I am extremely grateful,” he said.

“I consider myself a citizen of the world, but I was born and raised in Glasgow – it is where my first children were born – where I learnt to play the banjo – where I served my apprenticeship as a welder, and where I first performed in public.

“My heart beats to the rhythm of Glasgow – it is in my blood."

“I am happy and humbled that Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association commissioned a mural of me, to be erected in my home city, and thrilled that it was so skilfully created by artist and master craftsman Andy Scott."

As well as Connolly, Scott would like to pay homage to Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, the English-born artist whose role in the success of her husband, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, has long been debated.

In 2018, his bronze sculpture of Rennie Mackintosh was unveiled by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as part of a £60m renovation project in Anderston, Glasgow.

"She really deserves to be recognised as much as her husband,” Scott told The Times. “I think her statue would celebrate the role of women in the city, especially in the creative arts, as well as her own talents.”

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