Pink Ribbon

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Iron Duke - in bronze

Well, today we're back to trivia time. Who out there knew that, by convention, a military equestrian statue with one hoof off the ground meant that the person had been wounded in battle, and with two off the ground - killed in action?

This statue is of the Duke Wellington, and stands in front of the Royal Exchange in Bank. It was made from the canons captured in his campaigns against the French and very unusually, his feet aren’t in the stirrups.

He had the largest ever state funeral where two people were crushed to death because of the numbers. The tradition of having a dead commander's horse follow riderless behind the coffin was also observed, with his boots put in reverse through the stirrups of his saddle.

The museum of modern art in Glasgow has a much more fun version, see it here.

posted by Ham at 00:25 -- Comments here: 4

Comments on "The Iron Duke - in bronze"


Blogger nebel said ... (08:46) : 

That thing with the hooves is an urban legend, see Snopes. Still, I was told it by a tour guide in Rome a few years ago, so it's certainly a popular myth!


Blogger Ham said ... (11:41) : 

Nebel, interesting point. Snopes identifies quite a few statues that don't... but they are all in the US. I wouldn't want to be definative, but a quick google of european equestrian statues all seem to agree with the rule. Maybe that is an Atlantic divide?

The sculptor, Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey, was also responsible for a statue of George Washington in Boston - but not on a horse ;-)


Blogger San Francisco Daily Photo said ... (01:37) : 

At first I thought this was Jeanne D'Arc! (just kidding)



Anonymous elsa said ... (10:44) : 

That's very strange because I saw lots of statues like this one whose character does not have his feet in the stirrups. Montpellier's Louis XIV's statues is the same and in Lyon there is another one like this. I don't know the reason.


post a comment
Click for more recent posts Click for older posts

Name: Ham Location: London, United Kingdom View my complete profile