Unicorn's 200th Anniversary Sculpture Unveiled
Local Businesses rally round Unicorn to create 200th Anniversary Sculpture
Local businesses rallied round Scotland’s oldest ship, HMS Unicorn, to create a showstopping sculpture to celebrate the ship’s 200th anniversary in 2024.
The 3 metre all-steel artwork of a Unicorn rearing on its hind legs was inspired by the wooden frigate’s own impressive figurehead, and is topped with a gold-painted horn. The statue will be the centrepiece of a new garden for HMS Unicorn which will provided much public outdoor green space around the Victoria Dock, and form a part of Dundee’s many public art and sculpture trails.
The sculpture was designed and manufactured by Bryan Thomson of Angus Creations who waived his fee for the Unicorn Preservation Society. The work took Mr Thomson 250 hours and was completed mostly in his evenings and weekends, with support from Tayside Powder Coating Services who did provided the quality paint finish and METALtech UK who generously loaned the the use of their workshop when the project outgrew Mr Thomson’s own space. The cost of materials was funded by a generous grant from the Dundee Partnership Community Regeneration Fund awarded by the Maryfield Community Regeneration Forum.
The sculpture is on temporary display on board Unicorn alongside a replica figurehead from the ship’s own collection. The Unicorn, Scotland’s National Animal, has been associated with Scottish ships for over 500 years. The sculpture celebrates 150 years since her arrival in Dundee as a training ship in 1873.
A team carried the sculpture aboard earlier in May, requiring the (temporary) removal of handrails to squeeze the sculpture through narrow stairways before coming to rest at the aft of the ship’s topmost deck.
Matthew Bellhouse Moran, Museum Director for The Unicorn Preservation Society, says “Unicorn is one of the most important ships in the world and so we’re delighted at this expression of support from local businesses. Unicorn has been in Dundee for 150 of her near-200 years and this generous donation of time, energy and resources represents the affection of the local community for Scotland’s oldest ship.”
Bryan Thomson, Artist, says:
“Bespoke metal fabrication has always been my passion, so to have this opportunity to create a centrepiece that celebrates the historic ship for the public to enjoy has been a great pleasure.
My design inspiration was to bring the Unicorn figurehead to life and have it stand tall and proud like the ship itself. The support from local businesses ultimately demonstrates how proud we are of the culture and history of Dundee, and our ongoing motivation to encourage the future development of the city.”
First launched in 1824, HMS Unicorn is the third oldest ship afloat in the world and has been under the care of the Unicorn Preservation Society since 1968. Scotland’s only preserved warship and the oldest ship in Scotland, the Unicorn Preservation Society is working to protect and preserve HMS Unicorn for future generations to enjoy as the ship enters it’s 200th anniversary year in 2024.
The ship is open to visitors 6 days a week