Glasgow – Statue of the Duke of Wellington (Traffic Cone Head)

This is a photo of my hotel room and it’s relevant here as the irreverent branding here is of a traffic cone on the ceiling, and of course on the artwork behind the bed. This is because the traffic cone has become one of the emblems for the city of Glasgow, which at first didn’t seem ideal, but now it symbolises something wider.

And here’s the statue of the Duke of Wellington, outside of the Museum of Modern Art. It was originally sculpted by Carlo Marochetti in 1844 and placed here to commemorate the life of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, a military leader and politician. The practice of putting a cone on the head of the statue dates back to at least the 1980s, but the city council tried unsuccessfully to stop it in in 2005. The sculpture had been damaged by people climbing up it to place the cone on top of it, with another concern that someone might fall off. Today, the council seems more relaxed about it, primarily perhaps as they have no choice. The cone is now nearly permanent, although it goes missing from time to time before being promptly replaced by persons unknown…..