Dandy’s Story

A prestigious sculpture reflecting the region’s history and folklore is set to be installed in Clitheroe

Originally from the Netherlands, sculptor Marjan Wouda is behind a new work that is set to be installed in Clitheroe town centre.

The two-metre high, blackened stainless steel sculpture is of a large dog named Dandy – the ‘familiar’ spirit of James Device from Malkin Tower, Pendle.

Having lived in Lancashire since 2000, Marjan has always been fascinated by local folklore and the story of the Pendle witches: “We are all born storytellers. Through stories we make sense of the world and we connect with others. For me, the best and by far most interesting story we have here in Lancashire is that of the Pendle witches.

“I approached this story from a new angle, by looking at the account given by James Device in which he speaks of a black dog named Dandy, that comes to him offering power when he felt he had none,” explains Marjan, who has exhibited her work around the world. From Hong Kong to New Zealand, to Europe, the Caribbean and the USA, it is spread far and wide and is well respected. Royal Academician, Sir Kyffin Williams, described Wouda as, ‘Someone whose work is indeed true sculpture.’

Closer to home we can discover her sculptures outside, back in the places where they most resonate, in the natural landscape, parks and towns. Her work serves as the most democratic of art forms – it is freely accessible to everyone in all seasons, all weathers and throughout the day.

Marjan has imagined Dandy as a strange and imposing creature. He peers round at us. Is he friend or foe? What is he looking at and what is his intent? Arresting and mysterious, he takes us to a world where people believed in familiar spirits.

Residents and businesses throughout the Ribble Valley have been supporting a crowdfunding campaign at spacehive.com which also aims to attract significant backing from the Lancashire Culture & Sport Fund to secure the sculpture for the town, to fund an education pack for local schools and publicity material for tourists.

Booths supermarket has offered a great location for the sculpture and has set aside £5,000 towards the installation.

Sir Edwin Booth says: “My family has a history in Lancashire stretching back over 200 years and we value the heritage of our county. It is our hope that the story of Dandy will provide interest and enjoyment to local families and visitors to Clitheroe.”

Lucy Greenhalgh, president of Clitheroe’s Chamber of Trade and Commerce, sees great potential for the high street to benefit economically from this piece of public art: “I believe that this will create a buzz, attract visitors and add to pride of place. We are so beautifully located here in this historic location in the shadow of Pendle Hill and we have every reason to be linked to this important story. The sculpture will present our town as a place of history, creativity and imagination.”

Clitheroe Town Council is also backing the project along with other local businesses including Houldsworth solicitors: “I am happy to say that we would love to back this project, as it is going to be a wonderful centrepiece for not only Clitheroe, but for the Ribble Valley as a whole,” says John Houldsworth.

Local storyteller Simon Entwistle welcomed the project: “This is, to my knowledge, the only public sculpture representing a familiar. The belief that ‘cunning folk’ were assisted by a spiritual creature in the form of a man or an animal, is key to the Pendle witches story, and representing this in the form of a sculpture is a wholly original way of engaging people with it.”

Katherine Rodgers, Arts Development Officer for Ribble Valley Borough Council adds: “To have a new sculpture of this quality in Clitheroe town centre by a respected artist will be great. By investing in this cultural project, we will be able to enhance the future visitor experience of the town.”

Dandy, which is currently on view in Wyresdale Park in the Forest of Bowland, is expected to be installed and unveiled in Clitheroe in May. Marjan concludes: “Dandy’s story ultimately belongs here in view of Pendle Hill. It is where it resonates most strongly.”




Tedd Walmsley

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