Love it or loathe it? That has been the question about the ‘Dandy Lion’ sculpture since it’s Elgin High Street unveiling on 17th December, 2016.
The sculpture was commissioned by the Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere Partnership who formed a panel with external advisors to draw up a shortlist and funded by the partnership and the Heritage Lottery Fund to the tune of £7750. Self styled “Artist and Creative Deviant” Vik Quickly created the piece.
The plaque on the sculpture’s plinth seeks to explain what it depicts, saying,
He is dressed in his best estate tweeds and fine cashmere cardigan from Johnston’s mill, founded on the banks of the river Lossie in 1797.
His top hat, monocle, moustache and cane representing the dapper fashion of the early 1800’s when Andrew Anderson and Alexander Gray gifted the Elgin Institution and Gray’s hospital to the town on their successes with the East India Company.
His fish tail is for the vendors and fisherfolk who brought their produce here to sell at the market.
Last, but by no means least, his name and persona from the ‘feeing marts’ where in Springtime men and women looking for agricultural work would carry a Dandelion of which he wears in his buttonhole.
The sculpture has it’s own tripadvisor page where it scores 2/5, and gets its share of criticism. Macedonboy from Glasgow comments, “ugly, horrible and just poorly thought out.” Others say, “out of place”, “Why????”, “Melt it down and turn it into something useful”, or that it’s an “oddity that looks like its been made by a class of children.”
There are a few Dandy Lion defenders with Allison from New York saying, “it is absolutely adorable and well done. Worth seeking out.” Bibcay from Gateshead notes, “This so bad I love it … Will be back” and Obscure65 from Glasgow says, “I like horrible plastic statues so I enjoyed it.”
Fun and interesting? Blight on the landscape? Elaborate joke? Or, a clever public relations coup for Elgin? If you accept the premise that no publicity is bad publicity, then most will be able to agree that £7750 couldn’t buy the publicity that the Dandy Lion has generated.