For the pidgeons

The tall handsome guy made of clay is Adam Smith. The great Scot is being honoured with a statue placed across Edinburgh’s City Chambers. The unveiling was on July 4th by one Smith, first name Vernon, Nobel Laureate and apparently one of the private donors that paid for the monument.

Adam is not the first economist to be cast in stone or bronze on public display. If you figure Marx as an economist then there are plenty of those to go around. Other philosopher-economists also shyly populate London. Adam has been made as monument at the South Western University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. So as history goes, this is remarkable as the first PUBLIC statue of ADAM SMITH.

I find it somewhat more peculiar that the statue comes soon after the Adam Smith twenty pound bill. It may be an outcome of political devolution, and less likely of Gordon Brown, that Smith is raised to the status of Scotland’s heritage away from the myths of bearded troglodytes wearing kilts. On the myths of scottish identity check the magnificient The Invention of Tradition.


5 thoughts on “For the pidgeons

  1. You might be amused to learn that two years ago the Bank of England made inquires of Duke’s Economists Portraits Collection concerning the provenance of its portrait of Smith, as they researched/designed their new banknote.

  2. Not the “same”, in the Lynch and Law “birdwatching” sense. There are two Tassie portraits — engravings — in the National Gallery of Scotland, and the one at appears to be the one the BoE used. Their engraver though, I was given to understand, would do what was needed to whatever image was used to make it “suitable” for a note, meaning I assumed very difficult to counterfeit.
    I was given to understand that they preferred the “duke” image, but the Scottish portrait was both clearer in its provenance, and more officially UK.

  3. It just will not do to have a North Carolian Adam Smith. Funny this struggle with territorializing, keeping things in place. Keeping A. Smith Scottish is exceedingly hard. Surely, in the not so distant past the opposite was true, the hard labor was to make culture and its artifacts international.

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