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Wyllie can still surprise

THE late, great Scottish artist George Wyllie was known for producing certain works that were symbolically fragile or ephemeral.

His Straw Locomotive, which was suspended from the Finnieston crane during the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1987, was later burned, Viking longship-style.

Wyllie's Paper Boat of 1989, an 80ft vessel made out of plastic around a steel frame but made to look like a delicate origami boat, was launched on the Clyde in an artistic statement redolent with meaning about the decline of shipbuilding.

Now, two years after the artist's death, Wyllie has given his family, friends and many appreciators one last delightful surprise.

Two models he made of boats at the same time as the Paper Boat have been found hidden in what his daughter thought was just an old oil drum in his back garden.

The models are of tender boats, vessels used to transport people or goods from large ships to shore, something Wyllie as a Customs officer would have used many times.

The discovery helps ensure that, while the beloved sculptor himself may no longer be with us, delight in his creations continues.

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