Council backs Hawick’s choice of sculptor for £100,000 artwork

Hawick statue
Hawick statue
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one of Scotland’s leading sculptors can go ahead and create a lasting memorial to Hawick’s glorious past – without the threat of rivals bidding for the lucrative commission, writes Andrew Keddie.

That was upshot of a decision by Scottish Borders Council’s executive on Tuesday when councillors were asked by Hawick Common Riding Committee (CRC), which has already raised the £100,000 cost of the artwork, to adopt the procurement and installation of the work in their capital programme.

In essence, the committee will grant the money to the council to allow the latter to assume ownership and ensure the bronze-cast memorial’s future maintenance, estimated at £200 a year, after it is unveiled on the High Street pavement outside Drumlanrig Tower.

The meeting heard that prior to seeking this arrangement, the CRC had, in good faith, agreed to use the services of a local sculptor who had created a model evoking the skirmish at Hornshole in 1514 when young men of the town captured the flag of a party of English soldiers two miles east of Hawick.

The model depicts an armed callant along with two children and an elderly couple admiring the flag he is bearing.

A report from SBC’s head of property Andrew Drummond-Hunt recommended that to reconcile copyright issues over the design – the intellectual property of the sculptor – approved by the CRC with the council’s obligations to put its capital spending projects out to tender, a “non-competitive procurement route” should be agreed.

His recommendation, unanimously approved, means the £60,000 cost of the commission – a discounted rate offered by the sculptor – will not be open to rival bids, while the £40,000 contract for the plinth and installation costs will be open to tenders from local businesses.

Without the threat that the sculptor’s deal with the CRC can be usurped, The Southern can reveal that he is Ruaraigh Maciver who operates from the Beltane Studios in Peebles – one of the country’s few remaining foundries specialising in traditional bronze casting.

Mr Maciver has an enviable reputation, having last year completed the iconic 50-foot high Grouse statue at the Broxden roundabout in Perth. He has also collaborated with Andy Scott on the statue of legendary footballer Jim Baxter at Hill of Beith and the globe for the Thanksgiving Beacon in Belfast.