This photograph gives you a better idea of the Duke of Wellington’s location and the size of the statue. When this building was constructed in 1778 it was the townhouse of William Cunninghame of Lainshaw who was a very rich Tobacco Lord. However in 1996 it opened as GoMA and quickly became the main gallery of contemporary art in the heart of the city centre. Unfortunately on the one day I spent in Glasgow last year I was unable to go inside, but it was this photograph and the Duke of Wellington that I came to photograph.
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is Scotland’s premier museum and art gallery. It is one of Europe’s great civic art collections. Reopened by the Queen in 2006 after a three year refurbishment. It has become the most visit museum in the UK outside London. I took this photograph from one of the popular tourist sight-seeing buses. As I was vainly attempting to photograph as much of Glasgow in one day as possible, I used this tour bus as a way to see and travel between various locations. The bus was moving when this picture was taken and unfortunately I didn’t get off the bus to explore inside this building as from the outside it looks fascinating.
Glasgow Science Centre is a major visitor attraction on the south bank of the River Clyde. When I was there last July it really reminded me of the Salford Quays area near where I live. Glasgow Science Centre is the equivalent of the Imperial War Museum North. Not in terms of content or architectural design but there was just a similar vibe about it. Both look very expensive and impressive to me, but I don’t see a lot of people going to either centre. Still, that doesn’t bother me as a photographer and it was a joy to get the chance to photograph this unique and good looking building. At the point when this picture was captured I had just spent almost a week in Scotland without seeing blue sky. Seeing a sight like this made me and still makes me extremely happy. The tower in the background is the Glasgow Tower, where I actually took the lift up to the top soon after taking this photo.
It took me over six months before I realised this photo isn’t on my website but I now can finally bring you the photograph of the Duke of Wellington and the story of his mysterious traffic cone hat. Last summer I took the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow for the primary purpose of capturing this image. The statue stands outside the Gallery of Modern Art, sometimes referred to as GoMA.
The traffic cone is not Photoshopped on. The photo has been covered to black and white, with the cone kept red to make it stand out more. It’s permanently on the Duke’s head and for many years the authorities regularly removed cones, only for them to be replaced (usually the following night) by someone climbing the nearly 20 foot statue. This statue and his traffic cone has come to represent the city’s light-hearted attitude to authority, and the city authorities no longer remove Wellington’s cone hat.
I found out about this statue when researching the photograph below of David Hume taken on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, this “coning” is not accepted by the Edinburgh authorities and when I went back this summer to try and photograph Hume with his cone, it was gone. Still, the Duke of Wellington was the original traffic coned statue.