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Wathall’s Reveal Sneak Preview Of Ram Trail Sculpture

Wathall’s has revealed a sneak preview of the sculpture which the company has sponsored as part of this summer’s Derby Ram Trail.

Family-owned Wathall’s has dedicated its sculpture to members of its Dandelions Bereavement Support groups in Derby and Ashbourne and to the families who have lost a loved one in the past year.

Rescheduled from last summer, the Derby Ram Trail is being brought to the city by Derby Museums, in partnership with Wild in Art and is an amazing public art sculpture event with 30 individually painted 5ft tall Rams, threading through the city centre between May 27 and August 22.

Wathall’s Ram sculpture has been created by Glasgow-based artist and ceramics expert Catherine Bell who has taken her inspiration from the Derbyshire-born John Flamsteed.

The famous figure was appointed the first English Astronomer Royal in 1675 and, during his eminent career, catalogued a number of new stars and mapped certain constellations.

Catherine Bell explained: “My passion is art and history so, during my research I discovered the Derby link to John Flamsteed and that the Peak District National Park has designated dark skies discovery sites.

“I obviously don’t want to give too much away and ruin the surprise for visitors to The Derby Ram Trail but suffice to say that my design is inspired by the stars.

“I want visitors to look at the Ram sculpture and then up at the sky to appreciate the infinity of the universe and how we are only a small part of the wider expanse.”

Helen Wathall MBE, who is the fifth generation of her family to head up the company, continued: “We are delighted with Catherine’s work and very much look forward to our sculpture being part of the Derby Ram Trail this summer.

“We consulted members of our Dandelions bereavement support groups way back when we were first choosing the designs and everyone agreed that Catherine’s design beautifully reflected how many people take comfort from the night sky during their grief journey.

“She has even cleverly incorporated a dandelion in the design and many of our members are already making plans to get together and enjoy The Derby Ram Trail having not seen each other face to face for so long.

“I think this design is even more poignant with so many people having suffered the loss of loved ones and not being able to say final goodbyes in the way they would have liked during the pandemic.

“I hope that visiting our Ram on the trail will encourage people to stop and take a quiet moment of reflection to remember loved ones and hopefully gain strength to move forward with their lives.”

Catherine was able to finish her hand-painted sculpture literally the day before the first lockdown in March 2020.

She concluded: “I came down to Derby to complete the work and headed out to see more of the city as I was waiting for the different layers of varnish to dry.

“Lockdown was on the horizon and the enormity of the pandemic began to hit home when less and less people were out and about every time I ventured out of the studio.

“I have been involved in several different trails since 2014 and this is definitely one of the most interestingly from an artist’s point of view because of the shape and curves of the ram sculpture.

“I really hope to be able to travel down from Glasgow to see the Derby Ram Trail in all its glory, meet the other artists and get feedback from visitors.

“The auction at the end of the trail should be great fun and it’s always amazing to raise money for such great causes and see the sculptures go to new homes.”