Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Wedgwood statue is a lie

Statue of Josiah Wedgwood

This is Stoke-on-Trent's most famous statue - it is the potter Josiah Wedgwood, on a plinth outside Stoke Railway Station.
But... bearing in mind that December 3rd is the International Day of The Disabled... it is an impossible depiction, as Wedgwood should be really shown with just one leg.

Wedgwood is holding a copy of the Portland Vase (a piece of ancient Roman work), but he actually was not allowed to borrow the vase from its owner until 1786 - before reproducing his famous replica of it in 1790 (when he was 60).
But... the fact is that, many years earlier, in 1768, Wedgwood had had to have his right leg amputated.  So, the statue is a lie.

Of course, the statue was erected long after Wedgwood died in 1795, but the sculptor may well have known of Wedgwood's amputation anyway... and simply ignored it. 
The tendency to want our heroes to appear 'perfect' often overcomes a desire for truth. Sadly.

2 comments:

  1. Fast and loose with the truth though it is, it's still an eye catching statue.

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  2. Reminds me of a famous propaganda cartoon of FDR showing him walking heartily about with his sleeves rolled up, doing battle against the Depression. Which he did, but not standing; he was confined to a wheelchair. That fact was largely kept from the American people for decades.

    Great shot!

    Robin
    Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit

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