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Renown Local Artist Alan Faulds outlines his research and process behind the creation of his new work 'The Largo Obelisk' The new work will sit atop of the Community Phone Box at The Orry, Lower Largo.

Alan Faulds - The Largo Obelisk

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The Largo Obelisk

My initial thought when asked to make something to sit on top of the telephone box in the Orry was that it should somehow relate to the simple and classic form of the original K6 design. Something reminded me of the Chrysler building in New York and I wanted it to be as if growing from the original box. Tbe construction would be populated with people or objects. I did some drawings and models but rejected them. The next thought was a 4 sided tower. I had made a sculpture in 2000 called "7" based on the seven deadly sins which in form I thought worked quite well. In the event I settled on an obelisk which historically goes way back and was used to commemorate a person or events. That seemed to fit what I was trying to do. I decided that the basic shape would be broken up by "windows" at the top where I'd place little figures carved in the round which might balance the bas relief of the lower sections. 

The piece is made from accoya a sustainably sourced softwood native to New Zealand. From there it is often transported to the Netherlands where it is impregnated with acetic acid. It is knot free, carves and sands as well as lime and after being modified has a life expectancy better than teak, 60 years+. After making the basic superstructure I carved the individual pieces which are glued, pinned or screwed on. I used vintage croquet balls at the base to sit better on a curved roof. Thereafter the work is primed with gesso and painted with Liquitex acrylic paints. To finish I gave it 10 coats of a two pack epoxy varnish which initially at least gives a gloss finish and makes the piece look a bit like it's made of ceramic. The top part has a conical copper roof which is a recycled 19th century French wine filter bought on Ebay. The finial is a carved curlew clad in copper.

South West Panel

The lower part of the panel shows Lower Largo in about 1900. Behind the viaduct smoke emerges from the chimney of the Largo oil and flax mill which produced linseed oil in the production of linoleum with the by product of the waste made into cakes for animal feed. Also visible but gone today is the Belmont Temperance Hotel (destroyed in a fire in January 1926), the station and the bridge over the tracks. There is also a busy harbour scene with many fishing boats along with Sir Andrew Wood's fighting ship the "Yellow Carvel" which anachronistically has returned home and is at anchor in the harbour after capturing English ships off Dunbar.

In the sky over the harbour Robinson Crusoe and his parrot, the former on a penny farthing have been taking part in the annual "harbour frolics - flying off the pier competition". They have encountered a pierrot also airborne who will be performing later at the pier pavilion. A Morris Minor recalls the event on 17th July 1938 when Mr Potter of Crossgates collided with the TCB (telephone call box) in the Orry. He was later charged with careless driving and fined £1 in Cupar. Above are implements of the "roaring game"and a reminder of curling in cold winters of the mid to late 19th century at Largo pond adjacent to Largo House. The figure holding a whistle and a green flag is based on James H Young stationmaster at Largo for 9 years until 1929. During this time there he won numerous awards including "best kept station" from a field of over 300 competitors. A genial fellow and willing community participant he was instrumental in the creation of a much photographed shell and cement "Flying Scotsman", a shell statue and a sundial.

South East Panel

The lower section depicts the folklore tale of the Gold of Largo Law. An affable ghost meets a shepherd on the hill and agrees to tell him where the gold is hidden.

"If Auchindownie cock disnae craw

And Balmain horn disnae blaw

I'll tell ye where the gold mine is in Largo Law"

Unfortunately the message was not fully received by Tammie Norrie, the cow-herd of Balmain who proceeded to blow his horn at the wrong time and was struck dead on the spot. 

"Woe to the man that blew the horn

For out of the spot shall ne'er be borne"

And so the bones of the unfortunate cowherd lie under the grassy hillock today known as Norrie's Law. I represented the "gold mine" with Spanish doubloons. In August 1900 the "Amusements Committee" of Lundin Golf Club organised an event at Homelands Park (now the common) Nearly 2000 people assembled to witness a fireworks display and the releasing of a hot air balloon while a band played. Some of the more enthusiastic tweed clad golfers are seen engaging in a torch dance with one also having brought along his 7 iron. Above, overseeing events, and in a Hitchcock moment, the sculptor of the piece makes a guest appearance. Top left is a carved portrait of Dr John Goodsir (1746-1816) who when he was not on his horse with a horn lantern strapped to his knee (a tin lantern where the glass is made of cow horn) and on call could be found preaching from the pulpit of the Baptist church. 

North East Panel

A curious cat and an owl look on as the Largo Children's Gala procession makes it way through the village led by the pipe band. In the 1990's I painted my father's bowler hat blue enabling my son to appear as the "blue smartie" He rides on the back of a lady dressed to enact the nursery rhyme with the line "Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie."


Above is William George Stephens (born Devon 1820- died Largoward 1881) a highly esteemed multi-talented entertainer also known as "Shuffle Katie" who travelled throughout Fife and Angus. He drew large audiences with his "unequalled entertainments in which wit, humour, high class music and skilful mechanical contrivance are all made to the delight and astonishment of his audiences" He is particularly remembered as a puppeteer and he is here with my interpretation of his shadow puppet show "The Broken Bridge" at the "Pier Pavilion." At the top right is a book inscribed "IOGT" which stands for "Independent Order of Good Templars" a temperance movement promoting abstinence from drink and drugs in which men and women held equal status and with a similar organisational structure and regalia to the Freemasons. They met regularly in Lundin Links from the last quarter of the 19th century and into the early 20th.

North West Panel

At the bottom is the fishing boat "The Brothers" (KY39). In the front wearing a kepi and smoking a pipe is the skipper Samual Gillies. In March 1886 the boat went down in a squal 50 miles east of the Isle of May with the loss of the lives of seven local men. Above are two fisher folk based on the figures in a poster from the 1880's advertising the net manufacturer, David Gillies of Cardy House. Evergreen arches and bunting recall the unveiling of Robinson Crusoe's statue in December 1885 when there was a VIP procession and speeches witnessed by a large crowd. "Weel may the boatie row" is a song from 1741 of which Burns said "It is a charming display of womanly affection mingling with the concerns and occupations of life"

"I cuist my line in Largo Bay

And fishes I caught nine

There's three to boil, and three to fry

And three to bait the line" 

The "57 3/4" inscribed on the fish refers to the weight in pounds of the largest salmon caught in Largo Bay, sometime towards the end of the 19th century. It was 4 feet 4 inches long with a girth of 2 feet 4 inchesAbove the fish is the Rev David Malloch (1824-1896) who was pastor at Largo for 36 years going back to the original United Presbyterian church. He was instrumental in the building in 1871 of the "new" St David's Church and a particular supporter of fisher folk including organizing a collection for the bereaved families of "The Brothers"

Alan Faulds

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