James Oswaldl

James Oswald

Baron Carlo Marochetti (1805-1867)

1856

Bronze on a granite pedestal

George Square, Glasgow

James Oswald (1779-1853) was a prominent Reformist, noted orator, and twice MP for Glasgow. Marochetti executed two other monuments in George Square, equestrian statues of the Queen and Prince Albert, and also the well-known one of the Duke of Wellington outside the former Royal Exchange (now the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art). Compared to those, this statue seems unexceptional, but Oswald's frock coat and casual pose seemed quite startling in its day: "[t]he representation of a public figure in contemporary dress was unusual for this time and provoked some hostile criticism," writes Ray McKenzie (131). Stones used to be thrown into his hat, and perhaps still are. One of the passers-by who managed to get a stone into it was, apparently, Joseph Conrad (see McKenzie 132). Marochetti's Wellington has fared much worse, being rarely seen without a traffic cone on his head, and sometimes on his horse's head too.

  • Close-up of Oswald
  • Photograph and text by Jacqueline Banerjee

    [This image may be used without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose.]