Gallus Glasgow W: Wellington

Duke of Wellington and cone
Duke of Wellington and cone

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, hero of Waterloo and twice Prime Minister, has sat on his horse outside what is now the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) since 1844. For the first 140 years or so he was unmolested, but sometime around the 1980s the tradition of capping him with a traffic cone emerged. The council and the police don’t like this, but as fast as they take one down, another goes up in its place, costing, allegedly, £10,000 per year to remove.

Living statueIn 2013, Glasgow City Council considered a £65,000 plan to raise the statue’s plinth in an attempt to deter the ‘coning’ of the Duke. This led to #Conegate: a storm on Twitter and Facebook, an online petition and even a rally to Keep the Cone. The plans were quietly dropped and the cone remains. GoMA (owned by the council which so dislikes it) continues to sell greetings cards of the coned Duke and  a new hotel is using his image in its interior decor because it represents the humour of Glasgow. I found the article about this quite hilarious. Apparently the Sculptor in Ordinary to the Queen in Scotland (me neither) thinks the cone is comparable to “acts of cultural destruction carried out by so-called Islamic State.” Get a grip!

The street artists are getting in on the act too. I came across the mini-Wellington above in Buchanan Street before Christmas. I’m not sure he’d want to ride into battle on that horse, but he looks pretty gallus all the same.

X is a bothersome letter – I bet lots of people have to cheat a bit, and I’m no exception. Come back tomorrow to find out what Glasgow X represents.


45 thoughts on “Gallus Glasgow W: Wellington

    • Anabel Marsh April 27, 2015 / 10:56

      I did consider it but a) I know less than zero about it b) not strictly Glasgow and c) I found it was now called Soar! So it’s an even bigger cheat than that.


  1. Martha Reynolds April 27, 2015 / 12:11

    We have sculpture in Newport (Rhode Island) of a wave with two feet sticking out. They always have a pair of whimsical socks on them!

    Whatever your X post is will be fine. ❤️


  2. VioletSky April 27, 2015 / 12:42

    I read the wikipedia page on this Stoddard guy, and he seems a most disagreeable sort!!
    I have a keyring with this coned Wellington on it, bought at GoMA.

    hmmm, an X could also be a ____ Cross, so …..


    • Anabel Marsh April 27, 2015 / 12:54

      I hadn’t, but I have now – he’s big on social decay isn’t he? Re the key ring, it’s great how one part of the council is happy to exploit the image for profit and another wants to destroy it! And on your final point, I couldn’t possibly comment…….


  3. scottabercrombie87 April 27, 2015 / 13:05

    Another great post! How about a post on Charing Cross (X) Mansions by JJ Burnet for your X post? T’is a beauty of a building!


    • Anabel Marsh April 27, 2015 / 13:26

      It is indeed! My posts are all sorted, but you’re not far off the mark. I did consider Charing Cross for C and still have it on my list for next year – if I’m daft enough to do this again.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. vannillarock April 27, 2015 / 16:16

    It had to be Wellington – love it. Wasn’t there some move to stop him being adorned but Glaswegians told the said officials to get on their proverbial bike. Surprised it was raining when you took the street artist LOL.
    I actually knew my X from the minute I started- great when there is Spanish influence all around

    You are planning next year’s Ato Z – go have a lie down!


    • Anabel Marsh April 27, 2015 / 16:23

      Well, I am sitting with my feet up listening to the rain, will that do?


  5. claireannette1 April 27, 2015 / 18:52

    The cone on the head is hilarious and I’m sure many know about the Duke because of it. If I ever get to Glasgow this is the first thing I want to see.


  6. Nadine Feldman (@Nadine_Feldman) April 27, 2015 / 21:14

    This is hilarious. It’s one of the things that gives a city its character! As for the Islamic State, if they were just “coning” statues, we wouldn’t have too much to worry about! Talk about hyperbolic!


    • Anabel Marsh April 27, 2015 / 21:48

      He sounds a bit of a curmudgeon!

      There was a good video going round before Christmas showing “Santa Claus” changing the cone. It looked very precarious.


  7. Silvia Writes April 27, 2015 / 22:51

    That must irritate the police and the authorities having to remove that cone all the time, but it sure is a funny story. X is always a bother. This year’s X for me is half real, half invented. 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh April 27, 2015 / 23:32

      I think they have given up trying to remove the cone! I’m looking forward to seeing all the valiant attempts at X.


  8. Celine Jeanjean April 28, 2015 / 00:37

    This is brilliant! The sculptor in ordinary (?????) to the queen needs to unwind a little. If anything it means people are getting involved with the statue and are making it theirs with the cone. People are more likely to love it (as they clearly do) with the cone – and as you say it represents the sense of humour of Glasgow!
    Also that mini version is hilarious. The first picture took a while to load so I saw that first and I thought that was the official statue – I was rather bemused!


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2015 / 07:25

      The mini version as the main statue would be funny! Yes, that sculptor is definitely OTT in his views.


  9. Sarah Ferguson April 28, 2015 / 04:22

    I read about the cone last week – I was wondering if you would be doing something on it! I guess my question has been answered!


  10. Birgit April 28, 2015 / 05:40

    Oh it’s late but you put a smile on my face! I am so glad they keep coning the Duke


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2015 / 07:32

      Ha ha, tell Glaswegians what they can’t do and they get mad and go right out and do it.


  11. Ros April 28, 2015 / 05:50

    My friend and I are planning a trip to the UK at the end of the year and will definitely be heading up to Scotland as part of it. Now we’ll have to go and find this statue to ensure he’s got his cone on 🙂


  12. Kern Windwraith April 28, 2015 / 06:27

    Cone-headed Wellington makes me all kinds of happy, as do Stoddard’s fatuous remarks. Interesting title, Sculptor in Ordinary–that’s new to me. Always pick up something fun, fascinating or both on your blog!


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2015 / 07:34

      Thank you! I think the UK specialises in these daft, outdated titles.


  13. clarabellerant April 28, 2015 / 06:51

    I love the cone. With all the art in your city, I think it’s a great fit 😉 Lots of old statues in the world that people never take the time to look at.

    You can find me here:


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2015 / 07:35

      Yes, nobody would even look at it otherwise. Just another statue of the “great and good”.


  14. cassam101 April 28, 2015 / 16:02

    £10,00 a year? My goodness I’m sure they could think of better ways to spend the money.


  15. clicksclan April 28, 2015 / 18:45

    Seeing Wellington with his ‘hat’ always makes me smile. I’ve seen him with a scarf in winter as well, obviously someone worried he was going to get a bit chilly.

    Didn’t he feature in the opening for the Commonwealth Games as well? 😉


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2015 / 20:09

      I think he did. And when they were painting the pillar boxes gold for the Olympic medal winners someone gave him a gold cone!


  16. jazzfeathers April 29, 2015 / 07:39

    That’s fantastic! I’m unsure whether to take outrage for moking an historical figure and statue or being amused by the humour of the act 🙂


  17. Jemima Pett April 29, 2015 / 21:16

    I never realised there was a Wellesley statue in Glasgow. May the coning continue!


  18. Lori L MacLaughlin May 12, 2015 / 19:09

    What in the world is a Sculptor in Ordinary to the Queen? And I’m sorry, but I don’t think the “Islamic state” would be putting cones on top of statues’ heads. If he’s speaking of terrorists, they’d be blowing it up. The tiny horse statue is hilarious.


  19. jazzytower May 12, 2015 / 21:36

    I have to say this had me laughing out loud. Wonder why it cost so much to remove the cone. Just how high up is it I wonder.


    • Anabel Marsh May 12, 2015 / 22:28

      Not very! It’s probably such a lot because they had to remove it so often – much more sensible just to let it be…..

      Liked by 1 person

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