Published on 27/02/2019
GLADYS THE GOAT has been with us for almost thirty years, on semi-permanent loan from sculptor Mo Farquharson. She was part of the family and intrinsically associated with the gallery, a constant in all seasons. But she is now gone.
Newspaper photographers loved her, frequently suggesting artists posed sitting on her, holding a painting. Children loved her and she has been ridden like a pony many times. Parents looked concerned but she is made of strong stuff.
Some dogs loved her, others were wary. She is so well modelled, the dogs believed she was a living creature, a threat to their territory. Her horns were useful for securing dog leads.
Gladys, the actual living creature, was a goat on the Haddo Estate, just a few miles from Tolquhon, where sculptor Mo spent her childhood.
In 1972 Mo moved to Edinburgh and studied there, she continued her studies in Oxford and Massachusetts. She set up a studio in London and gained an international reputation, exhibiting widely. She particularly enjoyed sculpting animals but she also created a number of specially commissioned large scale pieces. One is in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, a powerful bronze statue, ‘The Miners’, which commemorates 73 colliers who died in the Udston Colliery explosion of 1887.
Another notable commission was a sculpture of John Lennon for HMV. After the unveiling, there was a celebratory dinner at which Mo sat next to Yoko Ono. She held Mo’s hand throughout the meal.
Sadly, Mo Farquharson died suddenly last September, aged 64. Just when we were wondering what to do with Gladys, how to return her to Mo’s executors, completely coincidentally, as she did not know Mo had died, we had a client who wished to buy her. The client had loved Gladys for many years but had never had the funds to buy her. Now, she decided, it was time. So, on a cold December day, Gladys was bundled up and removed to the back of a trailer where she was carefully strapped in, ready to set off for her new home. She has not gone far so will be true to her north east roots and give huge pleasure to a whole new swathe of admirers.
Mo is hugely missed by her family and friends. She had an infectious smile and a warmth and honesty in her work. Anyone who owns one of her bronzes is most fortunate.