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ART OF WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE

Many buildings are rich in art in the form of integral sculpture such as the Argyll Motor Works (Lomond Galleries) in Alexandria which has extraordinary sculptured stonework. Others have murals such as the Masonic Lodge in Alexandria which was  built as an institution to inspire young women. Many of our churches have murals and rich stained glass works. Some war memorials incorporate great sculpture and then there are memorials such as that to Peter Denny outside the Municpal Buidlings in Dumbarton. You will find all these covered in the relevant sections. 

This section aims to draw attention to other works of art unique to West Dunbartonshire. 

PUBLIC SPACE ART

BONHILL BRIDGE MURALS

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We open with some art that illustrates that art takes many forms and can be found in some surprising places. These murals are under Bonhill Bridge and were commissioned by the Lomond Fisheries Trust. A tribute to the mighty salmon that frequent these fast flowing clear waters, but which elude those not always so patient fishermen and women.

THE BEARDMORE SCULPTURE

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This was designed and built by Tom McKendrick and is covered separately in more detail under BEARDMORE SCULPTURE as it represents what lies between it and the Clyde.

DALMUIR PARK SCULPTURE, Dalmuir Park.

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The 'Dalmuir Park Sculpture' was installed at the end of March 2013 to commemorate the Dalmuir Park Restoration Project. It welcomes visitors to the park at the At the Mountblow entrance. 

This sculpture by Elspeth Bennie features a working clock providing a link to the giant Singer Clock tower (whose factory was one of the major industries of the local area); as well as detailing the history of the park.  The sculpture is lit up at night and is very picturesque.

DUMBUCK GEESE aka THE SCOTCH WATCH

For many many years a regiment of white geese guarded the bonded whisky Ballantines's warehouses at Dumbuck. Then one day they were gone. Victims of modernisation and electronic remote security systems. That was back in 2012. The famous flock under Arthur Carroll became well known and well loved. And missed. 

But in 2021 they returned - or at least they returned in spirit to guard the spirits within. Chivas Brothers had two regiments of geese installed on pediments in the grounds facing the road. These new recruits are metal. A bit rigid and lacking that warning honk. But they do rekindle the era of the live geese on guard.

THE GIANT BICYCLE, Forth and Clyde Canal / Argyll Road bridge, or accessed from Whitecrook Road, Clydebank.

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Canals are certainly not just for boats. This enormous bicycle reminds us that the tow path is a great cycling route. 

FAIFLEY, Faifley Road cnr Milldam Road​ and Faifley Road cnr Duntocher Road.

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The area has two sculptures; a pair separated by a few blocks. Both have a steel arch within are a parent with a child.

This is the one is at the intersection of Faifley Road and Milldam Road.

The other is at the intersection of Faifley Road where it has curved around the area and rejoined Duntocher Road. 

Perhaps the arch of the sculpture signifies that defining curve of the road; the parents and children, the community within. 

There is a touching memorial right next to the Faifley Road / Milldam Road sculpture. 

IN MEMORY OF THE THREE FAIFLEY MEN

WHO DIED IN THE IBROX DISASTER ON

2nd JANUARY 1971

GEORGE ADAMS 42

CHARLES DOUGAN 31

JOHN GARDINER 32

NEVER FORGOTTEN

DONATED BY THE FAIFLEY COMMUNITY COUNCIL

KROMER HAT SCULPTURE, corner of Glasgow Road and Argyll Road, Clydebank.

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This is a sculpture by Sue Jane Taylor. It was installed in 1991 and portrays a shipyard welder, just a typical shipyard welder, but so crucial to the once great shipbuilding industry. The plaque notes : "KROMER HAT" WORKER AT U.I.E. 1992 PRESENTED TO THE PEOPLE OF CLYDEBANK BY DUNBARTONSHIRE ENTERPRISE". 

CHAIN LINK SCULPTURE, between Change House and the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Agamemnon Street / Cable Depot Road, Clydebank.

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Entitles "Change" this sculpture by Jephson Robb at Change Gate was installed in 2011. It reminds us of the shipbuilding industry that once occupied this site. 

THE LOMONDGATE STAG, Stirling Road, A813, Dumbarton.

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The sculpture of a stag, a symbol of regeneration and growth, has a prominent position at the gateway to the Lomondgate development. It was created by well known sculptor Andy Scott who said "The real challenge of the design was to portray the stag's reflection in the water, which was something new for me and took quite a bit of work but I am really happy with how it has turned out."  

ART GALLERIES

BACKDOOR GALLERY, next to the Dalmuir Library, Lennox Place, Dalmuir, Clydebank, G81 4HR. 

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The Backdoor Gallery hosts a diverse programme of exhibitions all year round providing a platform for local artists to showcase their work, to bring the best of contemporary art to West Dunbartonshire and brings exhibitions of national and international significance to the local community.​ [WDC].

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL : https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/leisure-parks-events/museums-and-galleries/backdoor-gallery/

CLYDEBANK MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY,  Dumbarton Road, Clydebank, G81 1UE 

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This is within the CLYDEBANK TOWN HALL (discussed separately). 

New permanent exhibitions concentrating on Clydebank's proud industrial heritage have been created alongside new high specification temporary galleries, for exciting touring exhibitions as well as housing the Council's permanent exhibition of fine art. Both permanent and visiting collections are of a high standard and well worth visiting. (See the link below for current exhibitions). 

Part of the permanent exhibition includes the large model ships at the entrance and the Singer Sewing Machine collection which was awarded the 'Recognised Collection of National Significance' by Museums Galleries Scotland in 2013. [WDC]. 

Mercury, or "the angel" originally stood on the cupola on top of the clock tower.

In spite of stories to the contrary, it is thought that Mercury was specifically commissioned for the Town Hall; the sculptor very likely being Albert Hemstock Hodge, who had been involved in the 1901 Glasgow International Exhibition. The massive bronze statue ended up in the foyer during the hurricane which hit in January 1968. The hurricane did what the Blitz was unable to do - toppled Mercury from his perch atop the tower through the roof of the municipal chambers and halfway through the ceiling of the Provost's room! [WDC].

When entering from the side door you almost immediately see these ship models and beyond that the art gallery.

The art gallery turns to the right into the Garden Gallery with large expanses of glazing beyond which is a garden created when the Slipper Baths were demolished. You can still see the remaining street facade - from the inside.

ART IN OTHER COLLECTIONS 

ART OWNED BY THE WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL

The Council has a number of items of art that it displays within its other properties due to their connection to them, such as portraits of public figures or sheer size. 

This enormous painting has been displayed in the Municipal Buildings in Dumbarton. 

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert paid a short visit to Dumbarton on 17th August 1847. Here they are seen being received at Denny & Rankin's shipyard by Provost Risk and Sir James Colquhoun, Lord Lieutenant of Dumbartonshire, in the presence of 38 dignitaries. Dumbarton Castle Rock is the dramatic backdrop. James Hope Stewart was a prolific, meticulous and painstaking artist. He made many separate watercolour sketches from memory and from special sittings before embarking on this large canvas.

The size of the painting meant that he had difficulty getting it exhibited. However, its sale was the means of delivering the artist from poverty. [Art UK]. Queen Victoria appears much taller than she really was. This is probably some diplomacy on the part of the artist to make her nearer the height of the other peopls (or she has high heels on or is standing on a box below that dress!). 

ARTUK.ORG : https://www.artuk.org/discover/artworks/landing-of-queen-victoria-at-dumbarton-194914

CLYDE WATERFRONT website : http://www.clydewaterfront.com/our-journey/news-archive/2012/stately-stag-for-lomondgate#:~:text=Lomondgate's%20new%20Andy%20Scott%20sculpture%20of%20a%20stag,,Lomondgate%20Business%20Park%20and%20Lomondgate%20Services%20this%20week.

ELSPETH BENNIE website : https://www.trailsandtales.org/person/elsepth-bennie

GEOGRAPH.ORG : Chain sculpture : https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3951672  Kromer Hat : https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4136119 

JEPHSON ROBB website : https://www.architonic.com/en/story/simon-keane-cowell-who-me-the-multiple-identities-of-jephson-robb/7000562

SUSAN JANE TAYLOR website : https://suejanetaylor.co.uk/

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIl website : Dalmuir Park: https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/leisure-parks-events/parks-and-greenspaces/parks/dalmuir-park/dalmuir-park-restoration-project/park-facilities-and-features/dalmuir-park-sculpture/ ; Clydebank exhibitions : https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/leisure-parks-events/museums-and-galleries/exhibitions/clydebank-museum-exhibitions/; Back Door Gallery exhibitions, Dalmuir : https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/leisure-parks-events/museums-and-galleries/backdoor-gallery/

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE HERITAGE TRAIL BROCHURE :http:// https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/media/2619058/clydebank.pdf

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