AN ARCHER sculpture has been installed on the banks of the River Esk near the Roman Bridge in Musselburgh.

The work of art is one of two which now has pride of place in the Honest Toun after a £76,000 cash boost from Tesco.

The other is a giant stainless steel mussel shell, depicting Musselburgh’s history, which was recently put in place at Murdoch Green.

Svetlana Kondakova and Maja Quille, graduates of Edinburgh College of Art, worked on ‘Musselburgh Archer’, a life-size bronze cast of an archer and 12 steel arrows which will create a trail around the town.

In a joint statement, they said: “We hope that the artwork will link the heritage of Musselburgh to the modern day, as well as providing an interactive element of activity for both locals and visitors with the trail.”

The lifesize figure represents layers of local history including the Roman invasion in AD 80, the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547 and the Musselburgh Silver Arrow, which dates back to 1603 and is claimed to be the oldest sporting trophy in the world still competed for annually.

The artwork will be completed with a series of stainless steel arrows installed at different locations around Musselburgh. They are expected to be installed later this summer and will form a trail around the town to areas of cultural, historical, natural and community significance, supported by a Global Treasure App organised by Musselburgh Area Partnership.

Councillor Jim Goodfellow, cabinet spokesperson for community wellbeing, said: “This is a striking piece of art that represents so many aspects of local history. Residents of Musselburgh and visitors will no doubt appreciate this latest addition to the public art within the community.”

Michael Johnson of Nottinghamshire created ‘The Mussel’ with input from local schoolchildren, and its installation was recently highlighted in the Courier. He has been making artworks for public places since 1991 and has now completed more than 180 commissions for both rural and urban sites throughout the UK and Ireland.

Mr Goodfellow added: “This is a work of outstanding beauty that truly complements the town and its cultural heritage.”

East Lothian Council’s Arts Service formed a working group to select and commission artists to create the new public artwork. The group included representatives from Musselburgh Area Partnership, Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council, Musselburgh Conservation society, East Lothian Council officers, councillors and other community representatives.

The artists were commissioned to undertake the work, which is being funded by Tesco with £38,000 for each of the two sculptures, as part of East Lothian Council’s Percent for Art Policy.