Dudley the Cat
Dudley the cat on his granite plinth was the first public art project to be managed by Linlithgow Burgh Trust, in this case through its Burgh Beautiful Committee arm. The bronze sculpture is situated on the north side of the Union Canal Basin and was erected in memory of Liz Burrows - Dudley's owner - who supported Burgh Beautiful and left a generous legacy to Burgh Beautiful when she passed away.
How the Project Came About
Taking into account Liz Burrows' interest in the arts, her love of the canal (alongside which she lived) and her devotion to Dudley, we hit on the idea of a landmark feature of the cat sitting on a plinth in a similar style to the 'Greyfriars Bobby' dog sculpture in Edinburgh. Although now sadly deceased, Dudley lives on in photographs and in two fine line drawings that Liz commissioned, thus Dudley's appearance and character were well documented.
Unfortunately, our preferred location was marred by an ugly, leaning telegraph pole, the removal of which had been contemplated for several years but not progressed because of the cost involved. Following a direct approach to Clive Selley, Chief Executive of Openreach, his company agreed to remove the pole and redirect the overhead wiring underground as a form of 'match funding' for our project and, within three months, the offending pole was removed - on 17 December 2017. We are very grateful indeed to Openreach for such a speedy and substantial contribution to our project.
Above, left to right: Dudley in real life; removal of the telegraph pole on the site; sculptor David Annand with the clay version of the sculpture; the unveiling.
The Artist, Stonemason and Contractors
We commissioned the well-known Scottish artist, David Annand, to create the cat sculpture and W L Watson of St Andrews to make the grey granite plinth. David Annand had considerable experience in the field of public art, including a recent, similar work in St Andrews and the Mary, Queen of Scots statue at Linlithgow Palace (plus more recently, of course, the 'Black Bitch' sculpture in Linlithgow High Street). Ecoss Landscaping undertook the paving work, a curved retaining wall and the positioning of various associated pieces of street furniture including seating, signs and map/interpretation boards.
The artist completed his clay version of the sculpture in April 2018 and site works commenced during the following month. The finished sculpture and plinth were erected on 19 July 2018, Dudley having been cast at Powderhall Bronze in Edinburgh - and its official unveiling, by Linlithgow MSP, Fiona Hyslop took place on 3 September 2018.
Grateful Thanks to Our Funders
We are extremely grateful to all those who provided the funds for the Dudley sculpture and its surroundings. As mentioned above, the main funder (in kind) was Openreach, but substantial financial contributions to supplement Liz Burrows' legacy were received from the West Lothian Council Arts Fund, Linlithgow & Linlithgow Bridge Town Management Group and Linlithgow Town Centre BID. A replacement bench on the site was part-funded by the Rotary Club of Linlithgow and Bo'ness.
We also greatly appreciate the generous donations from all the public-spirited local citizens and businesses who contributed to our 'crowdfunding' campaign, namely Mackie & Brechin (Veterinary Surgeons), Neil Anderson, Dianne Lamont, Kirsty & Nicholas Leonard, Jim & Nuala Lonie, Ann Minto, Mary Mitchell, Mrs A H Somerville, Ron & Myra Smith, Averil & Gavin Stewart, Gail Wright, Jack & Christine Adair, Robbie Calder, Roberta Gollop, John Guthrie, Judith Hamilton, Michelle Johnston, Beatrice Keir, Mrs M S McConnell MBE, Monica McGill, Judith Ogilvie, Basil Piper, John & Mary Pitcairn and two anonymous persons.