Percy is our donkey statue who used to stand in the visitor car park but now stands close to the alongside our visitors' centre. He was originally sculpted by Lizanne Kempsell, who trained as an animal sculptor at art college.
The sculpture is a replica of the original which was commissioned by Mrs Anne Misselbrook, and was a portrait of her driving donkey, Percy.
The original was displayed as part of Lizanne's final year graduate show at Edinburgh College of Art.
Two funny stories relate to that donkey sculpture. Lizanne says "The first in relation to when I first modelled it at a studio in Livingston. The donkey was modelled in plaster of Paris and then a mould taken of it so that it could be cast into reinforced concrete. The casting process required that the donkey sculpture be transported to another location and this was done by placing it head first into a high sided trailer pulled by a car. Half way along the motorway (the M8!) the vehicle was stopped by Lothian and Borders Police who were intent on cautioning the driver for transporting a live animal in an open trailer! Very embarrassed police officers hastily left the scene."
Lizanne goes on to say "The second story relates to when the first cast of the sculpture was delivered to Anne Misselbrook, then living on the west coast of Scotland. The life size sculpture was installed on a base in the middle of her lawn. Anne at the time was the owner of a number of prolific show winning donkeys and had a chestnut stallion called Phoenix. Phoenix was accustomed to being walked past the lawn on his way back to the stable each evening. The first day following installation of the donkey sculpture Phoenix was duly escorted back to his stable whereupon he caught sight of the usurper and promptly broke free, galloped across the lawn and mounted the donkey sculpture with great gusto. Apparently it took around three people to pull him off!"