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Meet Fanny Christie, the artist behind Broughty Ferry’s bronze dolphins – and be in with a chance to name one

The statues can be found on the promenade near Broughty Ferry beach. We spoke to the artist to find out more about her and the creation process.

Local artist, Fanny Christie working on the Broughty Ferry Dolphin Sculptures. Image: Fanny Christie
Local artist, Fanny Christie working on the Broughty Ferry Dolphin Sculptures. Image: Fanny Christie

Artist Fanny Christie spent months creating the Broughty Ferry dolphins statue, and now the ‘Tay Fins’ need names.

The three bronze dolphins appeared near Broughty Ferry beach seemingly overnight in January. They were created by Blairgowrie-based artist, Fanny Lam Christie.

Commissioned by Sustrans and Transport Scotland, the ‘Tay Fins’ are the latest addition to the active travel project between Broughty Ferry and Monifieth.

The statues capture three bottle-nosed dolphins, the same kind that can often be spotted while standing on the beach.

There is now a competition that gives locals a chance to name the three statues by giving suggestions.

Fanny hopes that the competition will help raise awareness of the dolphins and to get the local community involved in the project.

You can submit your suggestion here.

Getting to know Fanny Christie

What inspired the Tay Fins sculpture?

The inspiration for the dolphins statue in Broughty Ferry came from research findings of the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) of St Andrews University on bottlenose dolphins.

I previously had encountered the bottlenose in Cromarty, Mull and Skye on boat trips and wanted to have a better understanding of their habits.

I’m particularly interested in their movement, social interaction and ways of communication using sound under water.

Fanny Christie with the 'Tay Fins' statues in Broughty Ferry.
Fanny Christie with the ‘Tay Fins’ in Broughty Ferry. Image: Fanny Christie

How did you find the project? Was it difficult?

Apart from the size and weight of the dolphin statue for Broughty Ferry beach, which in itself was a complicated and time consuming process, I find the research findings of SMRU interesting and revealing.

My response to the commission call-out was neither easy nor difficult but in view of the research findings, I find it extremely rewarding. This is a fascinating subject. It was hard work.

What would you have done if you hadn’t done the job you’re doing now?

My work as a visual artist both as a sculptor and painter and I would be developing new artworks for exhibition.

Where in the world are you happiest?

Whilst I grew up in Hong Kong, I am very happy to be in Scotland where I discover nature. I have been here 25 years now.

The dolphin sculpture in Broughty Ferry covered in silicon
Four layers of silicon were applied to a clay model, which would then be used for the statues. Image: Fanny Christie

Favourite part of Scotland to explore?

I live in Blairgowrie where I built my studio. There is so much around and within Perthshire to explore. I love the Scottish coastline and the islands, particularly Mull and Orkney where the light is magic.

Last book you read?

The last book I read was ‘The World We Made: Alex McKay’s story from 2050.’

Music you listen to in the car?

I usually listen to Classic FM.

Who inspires you?

The artist whose work inspires me is Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone. I love his large-scale sculptures of trees which explore the link between man and the natural world.

Who or what was your first love?


Do you believe in love at first sight?


Your house is on fire – what one item do you save?

My laptop.

First thing you’d do if you won £1 million?

I would really like to create a woodland sculpture park.

If you could rule for a day, what would be the first thing you would do?

I would ban TV from advertising gambling.

Fanny Christie sculpting the Broughty Ferry dolphin statues
Three wax models were made. Fanny modelled each fin individually for the dolphin statues. Image: Fanny Christie

What makes you happy?

When I have completed a project successfully, and spending more time with my family.

What makes you sad?

When a storm wipes out another forest or another severe flooding event happens.

What was the first album you ever bought?

The Beatles – Let It Be.

What’s the best advice you have ever received, and who did it come from?

The best advice for me is ‘to follow what I believe in without worrying whether people like it or not’ from one of my art college tutors.

What do you do to unwind?

I go swimming and to the gym, do gardening, have a walk in the woodland and listen to the birds, or play golf.

What or who are you proudest of?

I am proudest of my two daughters.

Molten bronze being poured to create the brought ferry dolphin statues
Molten bronze was poured in to moulds to create the statues. Image: Fanny Christie

If you could turn back the clock what one thing would you change?

I would like to change the building design of the windows in my studio – they leak and I need to keep watch when there is heavy rain!

Favourite holiday destination?

Italy for the art, culture and food.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Work harder, with more focus.

Could you save someone’s life if they were dying in the street?

Probably not but I would do what I could and try artificial respiration.

What’s your motto?


Dream dinner guests?

Ai Wei Wei, Guiseppe Penone, Taylor Swift, Marcus Wareing, Nicola Benedetti, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Yo Yo Ma and my husband Andrew Christie.

If you could only watch one film for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A Beautiful Mind.

The final dolphins sculpture near Broughty Ferry beach. Image: Picasa

Favourite piece you’ve worked on?

My favourite piece of artwork is ‘The Storm’, a very large fallen tree root which I cast in bronze in 34 sections using a combination of three casting methods: the ceramic shell, investment mould and resin-bonded sand casting.

Birnam Arts in Birnam, Dunkeld is currently showing a free exhibition detailing the creative process behind Fanny’s sculptures. Exhibition ends March 3.