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.
Originally, this was planned to be my Halloween photograph for yesterday’s post. However, it turns out the pumpkin took its place. The above image shows a statue of a lion that was found at the front gate of a house where the famous L. S. Lowry stayed on his annual holiday here in the 1930’s. I took the photograph on my way up to Scotland along the east coast of the country. I wasn’t particularly impressed with Berwick-upon-Tweed as a town for photographic beauty. However this statue and its twin were very interesting to me. The lions date back to 1807 and were referred to as “The Pot Lions” by Lowry himself. The two statues, although similar are not identical. The one pictured above is one the left of the gate and is particularly demonic. Personally, I feel this is because of the open mouth and white eyes.
Symbols, signs and statues always interest me when I am out with my camera. Whilst in Southport I found a collection of similar looking statues on the top of large (lamppost sized) poles. I took photographs of each of the half dozen I seem to remember there being. This was the first one I saw. I’m not sure what they are for or who the artist is but I can tell this is meant to be a cyclist. Although, the statue itself was quite small you can make out a great deal of details in the figure. If you can spot the bird perched on the back of the bikes frame, you will be able to get an idea of scale.
I want to start moving from pure record or stock photography to more artistic images. As many readers might know I also like mixing the old and new within photos. The above picture of the South Bank Lion was not Photoshopped (it was simply cropped and converted to black and white). The Coade Stone statue was designed by W.F. Woodington, and is 13 feet long and 12 feet high, and weighs over 13 tons. From the correct angle you can get the above composition, where the lion appears to be looking up at the London Eye. The Eye is actually a few hundred yards behind the lion along the south bank of the Thames River. The original image is in a portrait aspect ratio with the full bottom half of the lion and a little more of the wheel but I cropped it for the website.