New Linlithgow sculpture unveiled by trust

John Cunningham (Provost of the Deacons' Court of the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow); David Annand (sculptor of the 'Black Bitch' statue); Tom Kerr (Provost, West Lothian Council); Ron Smith (Convenor of Public Art and Burgh Beautiful Committees, Linlithgow Burgh Trust).
John Cunningham (Provost of the Deacons' Court of the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow); David Annand (sculptor of the 'Black Bitch' statue); Tom Kerr (Provost, West Lothian Council); Ron Smith (Convenor of Public Art and Burgh Beautiful Committees, Linlithgow Burgh Trust).

The first of two sculptures commissioned by Linlithgow Burgh Trust to celebrate the town’s two traditional civic insignia has been unveiled.

The new ‘Black Bitch’ statue was installed back in December and forms the centrepiece of a new seating area in the High Street opposite St Peter’s Episcopal Church. The area will shortly be enhanced by colourful planting by the volunteers of Burgh Beautiful.

Last Friday, the sculpture was ceremonially unveiled by Provost Tom Kerr, who said: “On behalf of the people of Linlithgow, a huge thanks to the Burgh Trust plus all the funding organisations, crowdfunders and individuals who have contributed to this appropriate work of art. Ron Smith, in his capacity as convenor of the trust’s Public Art and Burgh Beautiful Committees, deserves a huge thank you not only for the success today but also for taking Linlithgow’s Art Project forward.”

Provost Kerr paid tribute to the sculptor: “Before unveiling this wonderful artwork, I would like to thank and congratulate David Annand on his interpretation of the ‘Black Bitch’ and also W. L. Watson & Son for the lovely sandstone plinth.”

After the unveiling, Mr Annand said: “It has been a real privilege and a joy to work with Ron and his team of storm-troupers on the Black Bitch and, of course, Dudley the Cat.

“Burgh Beautiful Linlithgow is positively contaminated with obsessives and they are total fanatics about looking after this lovely historic town. Thank goodness for them all and I must thank and bless them for their obsession and hope it is never ending!”

The other speaker at the event was John Mason, chairman of Linlithgow Burgh Trust, who recognised the contributions of the Powderhall Bronze foundry, landscapers Fernbrooke Scotland, engineers David Ogilvie for the seating and the Osprey Company for the information board.

He said: “Particularly I would like to thank the Linlithgow & Linlithgow Bridge Town Management Group and the former Linlithgow Town Centre BID for their substantial financial contributions to this public art project.”

Also in attendance were some of the school pupils whose work is featured on the statue’s information board or will appear in a new booklet to be published when the second ‘civic insignia’ sculpture of St Michael is unveiled at Low Port later in the year.

John Mason, chairman of Linlithgow Burgh Trust said: “Linlithgow Burgh Trust is proud to provide such a wonderful addition to the High Street. The sculpture is magnificent and will be much loved both by resident Black Bitches and tourists alike. Many people were involved in the process of creating the sculpture and I would like to thank all those involved, especially David Annand for sculpting such a beautiful dog and all our funders, particularly those individuals from Linlithgow who made donations and supported the crowdfunding scheme.”

After the unveiling last week, the invited guests were invited for most welcome tea/coffee and locally-baked cakes across the road in St Peter’s Church. Souvenirs provided included specially-reprinted greetings cards portraying the Black Bitch, designed by Silvana Donaldson of Linlithgow Academy.