Challenges of creation

1.9 Challenges to overcome in the process of realizing an equestrian statue

To bring an equestrian statue into being is not an overnight job, and many hurdles have to be overcome.

In this chapter, I describe the various phases in the process of creating an equestrian statue, rather than the technique of producing one. If the process is not properly managed, it can result in a long time span between having the idea for a statue and the date of dedication. This can be many decades, or even be more than a century.

First I will discuss the start of the process (the financing of the statue and the selection of the sculptor), then the many potential causes for delay and lastly the difficulties that can be encountered once the statue has been completed.

1.9.1 Start of the process

 Every equestrian statue starts from an idea. In the early days, it was simply the monarch or someone such as a condottiere himself who decided that he wanted to be remembered for the centuries to come, by portraying himself as an equestrian. Later, it became the normal practice in a number of dynasties for a successor to take care of a statue for their predecessor, even in those instances where the relationship between the two could have been more harmonious. The financing of the statue was no problem in those cases. The portrayed or the successor paid the bill.

Over time, however, the motives to erect an equestrian statue became more diverse, and with that, the process became more complicated.

Process-wise, one can say that the greater the number of people who were involved in the initiative, the more complicated the process became. And as a result of that, the more time it took to realize the statue. The most important first questions to be answered were how to raise the funds needed to establish the statue and which artist to commission the work from.

1.9.2 Financing

As already stated, if the financing was by (the family of) the portrayed, the financing of the statue was not that much of a problem. This was usually the case with the monarchs and the condottieri in the past and is now so again with some of the new Americans, such as for example the statue of Henry E. Day in Draper, Utah.

Nor is financing a problem in those cases where the statue is a gift by wealthy individual citizens, by the artist, by states or on behalf of groups of grateful people.

An example of a statue financed by wealthy individuals is that of Washington in Morristown, New Jersey: ‘…and Miss Ellen Mable Clark, donor, who made her childhood dream of giving Morristown a statue of George Washington come true’.

In some cases, a statue was a gift from the artist, such as the Putnam equestrian in Redding, Connecticut, by Anna Hyatt-Huntington (see Section 2.11.2) and Jeanne d’Arc in Chinon (France), by Jules Roulleau (see Section 2.3.3).

Examples of equestrian statues given by states, often on the occasion of an official visit by a head of state, include the Galvez statue in Washington, a gift from Spain, and the allegorical sculptures Valor and Sacrifice in Washington, a gift from ‘the people of Italy’.

However, even in the event that a statue was a gift, this did not automatically result in it being installed, as the following example shows us. A private individual donated a replica of the Jeanne d’Arc statue by Emmanuel Frémiet to the city of New Orleans in 1958. The city could not foot the US $35,000 price tag to erect it and placed the statue in storage. In 1960, Charles de Gaulle (then President of France) visited New Orleans and simply fell in love with the city. On his return to France, he contacted a few citizens in both France and New Orleans, asking them to invest in a fund for the statue. In 1972, the statue was finally able to be removed from storage and put in place.

Other examples of statues that were donated include the Lafayette equestrian in Paris (presented in 1908 ‘in the name of the patriotic American schoolchildren to the people of France’), the Washington statue in the same city donated by patriotic American Women (‘to commemorate the help and friendship during the war of independence’), and the Jeanne d’Arc by Anna Hyatt Huntington in Blois, a gift by a ‘citoyen américain’.

The Kosciuszko statue in Krakow (Poland) was a gift from Dresden, and the Danish people donated a replica of the beautiful Poniatowski equestrian statue by Thorvaldsen in 1951 to Warsaw. The Germans destroyed both the originals in World War II.

The paper Men on horseback, by S. H. Kaufmann, read to the Columbia Historical Society of Washington DC in 1901, gives some interesting information about the cost and the financing of the equestrian statues erected in the city in the second half of the nineteenth century. The cost of these statues ranged from US $32,000 to $60,000, which in today’s buying power equates to $900,000 to $1,400,000. Kaufmann mentions the amount furnished by Congress in 1901 for the Grant monument (some $7.3 million in today’s buying power), not unjustifiably, as ‘a very liberal amount’. The city invested heavily in equestrian statues. Kaufmann ends his paper with the conclusion that ‘Washington DC will probably possess a greater number of equestrian statues than can be found in any other city of the world’. This is almost still true today.

Private initiatives took care of the financing of most of these statues, such as the Jackson Democratic Association, the Society of the Army of Tennessee and the Society of the Army of Cumberland. In many cases Congress supplemented this, for example by financing the pedestal or the material.

An equestrian statue was sometimes the result of a spontaneous reaction by the population, for example in the case of the Grant statue in Chicago, Illinois. Within days of the death of Ulysses S. Grant in 1885, tens of thousands of people began donating dimes, quarters and dollars to commission a monument in his honour. Sometimes the population was even overenthusiastic. In Richmond Virginia, individual subscriptions for the Washington equestrian statue were limited to a maximum of US $20, but many evaded this restriction by using the names of their wives and children.

In the US, the inscription next to the Chief Trumpeter in Tucson, Arizona, is very Republican. It mentions explicitly that ‘no taxpayer money funded the project’.

Examples of support in kind include the bronze from cannons captured by Congress for the Scott and the Thomas statues in Washington, and the raw material furnished by the Union Minière of Congo for the statue of Leopold II in Brussels. It may be expected that in the coming years, companies will sponsor statues with the mention of their name: ‘This statue was commissioned by XX Bank as a gift to the citizens of YY’.

In the case of a lack of funds, one has to be creative. One possibility was to save money by simplifying the design of the pedestal or by the use of parts applied before in another project. One example of the latter is the (splendid) horse in the equestrian statue of Gough by Brock/Foley (1880) in Chillingham, UK, which was used before for the statue of Viscount Hardinge in Calcutta, which is now in Over, UK.

To end these observations with regard to the financing of equestrians, I cite an actual and most creative example: in Mongolia, I was recently offered the opportunity to finance one of the 10,000 bronze warriors of the Genghis Khan army for about US $15,000 (a bargain), in exchange for a warrior with my face and the mention of my name on the base. A very creative and original way to raise the funds needed.

1.9.3 Selection of the sculptor(s)

As far as I know, the Medici family in Florence has been the only commissioner to have its own ‘in-house’ sculptor: Giambologna. An artist so talented that the Medici never allowed him to leave Florence after he settled there at the age of 24, as they rightly feared that the Habsburgs would tempt him into permanent employment. Such a situation obviously was, however, an exception.

In almost all other cases, a choice had to be made, often based upon a competition in which models of the statue had to be presented. For example, three sculptors competed for the statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni in Venice: Verrochio, Leopardi and Vellano. Verrochio was awarded the assignment, but died before he could cast the statue. Leopardi would complete the work.

In the early days, the number of artists qualified to do the job was limited. In the eighteenth century, sculptors sometimes had to be hired abroad. It goes without saying that in such a market, the prices and conditions demanded by the artist could be extremely high. One example of this was the hiring of Jacques Saly in 1752 for the creation of the statue of King Frederick V of Denmark (see Section 2.5.1).

In England, the market conditions were slightly different, as two Dutch/Flemish artists (Scheemakers and Rijsbrack) competed for the William III statue in Bristol, not shying away from price cutting.

As time went on, the supply of qualified artists increased. The number of competitors for the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ monument in Des Moines was as high as 48! It is very sad that the Iowa artist Ketcham, chosen over the 47 others, died before the completion of the monument, as more than 50 years passed between the commission and the dedication. This was because of controversy over the location and the artistic details of this monument with four equestrian statues.

Disputes about who to select could be difficult, long lasting and sometimes frustrating. For example, the selection of the artist for the Sherman statue in Washington; ‘a child of misfortune from the beginning’ as someone called this statue. The committee of award set aside the recommendations of an advisory committee representing the National Sculptural Society, which had been invited to comment on the merits of the various models shown. A better recipe for problems does not exist. The Sherman monument in Washington DC was commissioned in 1896 from Rohl-Smith, who died in 1900. Lauretz Jensen completed the work in 1903. <The total cost was $90,000, which equates to a buying power of some $2.3 million today. The cost of the restoration in 2011 amounted to $2 million.> One of the inscriptions on the pedestal reads: ‘War’s legitimate object is more perfect peace. Washington, 1882’.

Sometimes the statue was commissioned simply to a local sculptor, such as Clapperton in Galashiels, Scotland, or Lemot in Lyons, but these were exceptions.

For a good reason, in a number of cases projects were awarded to more than one artist.

As stated before, one has to realize that creating an equestrian statue is one of the most challenging assignments for a sculptor, involving a combination of two dissimilar figures – a horse and a rider – in one harmonious unity. For this reason, the choice of two artists was often made, one for the rider and one for the horse. That was already the case in Ferrara in 1443, when the statue of Nicolo III was commissioned to Baroncelli for the horse and to Christoforo for the rider (see Section 2.1.4). In the US, the artists Potter and French formed a reliable partnership for the horse and the rider respectively, and the duo of Saint Gaudens and Proctor modelled the famous statue of Sherman in New York City and the Logan statue in Chicago.

Some recent examples of collaborations in the US are the equestrian statues of Washington in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania (2005), and of the Smith brothers in Nauvoo, Illinois (2003), both by the combination Stan Watts and Kim Corpany.

The brothers Louis and Charles Rochet created William the Conqueror in Falaise and Charles the Great in Paris. Father and son, Adolf and Karl von Donndorf, were responsible for Wilhelm I in Dortmund.

The Friedrich der Grosse statue in Berlin was commissioned to Rauch, who involved ten other sculptors in executing this massive monument.

Three artists working together under the name of a company (Artcycle Ltd.) created a most charming rider, the Fine Lady, for an equestrian sculpture in Banbury, UK.

Emile de Nieuwerkecke, an entrepreneurial artist, avoided competition by offering uninvited an attractive design for the statue of Willem I, the first equestrian statue in the Netherlands.

1.9.4 Disputes as a cause for delay

Disputes over all sorts of matters often cause delays. There can be disputes about the location, the rider, the dress and even the gender of the horse.

A frequent subject for debate is the site where the statue is to be placed. One example of this is the Foch statue in London. Once the controversy was settled about the choice of the artist (Why should the French artist Malissard craft the statue instead of an English one?), the dispute started about the site. In the end, it was decided to place the equestrian near Victoria railway station, so that French visitors arriving there would see the statue.

The location of the Lee statue in Keedysville, Maryland, is incorrect, as it would place General Robert E. Lee in the middle of the ‘Union line’

It is not only the place, but also the position of a statue that could be a matter of fierce dispute, as the famous statue of Bogdan Khmelnitsky in Kiev (Ukraine) illustrates. It was to have been placed in St Sofia square in such a way that the hetman’s mace was threatening Poland. However, that would have meant its tail facing the altar wall of Saint Sofia’s Cathedral, much to the indignation of the Kiev clergy. For this reason, and also because there was no money for the granite pedestal, the finished monument stood for eight years in the yard of the Old Kiev police station. Kiev residents joked that the hetman had been arrested as he had ‘arrived without a passport’. In the end, the statue was turned around in order not to offend believers’ feelings, so the mace no longer threatened Poland. Despite common opinion today, the mace was never directed towards Moscow.

Another story about the position of a statue concerns the Garibaldi statue in Rome. This originally faced the Vatican, because Garibaldi had the ambition to conquer the Papal States. On the request of the Vatican and agreed upon in the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the statue was turned around.

The place for Vercingétorix was selected in a democratic way. To find the right spot for the statue, a plaster model was mounted on a cart and wheeled from place to place, with the townspeople following along to give their opinions. 

Disputes could also arise concerning the dress of the person portrayed and even the gender of the horse. Two examples of the former concern the statue of Wolseley in London, where the widow preferred her husband to be shown in full field marshal’s attire, rather than some active service kit, and the dispute over the dress of Albert I in Nieuwpoort, Belgium, which was not considered to be military enough as the king was not wearing a helmet.

That even the gender of the horse could give rise to dispute is illustrated by the statue of Scott in Washington DC, by Kirke Brown. The sculptor was known for his commitment to historical accuracy and his attention to detail. As Scott preferred to ride mares, the sculptor mounted his subject on a mare. However, the family thought this unseemly, so Brown added the stallion’s parts, but without removing the female ones.

Controversies about the person portrayed (hero or villain?) can also result in considerable delays. The statue of Fallon in San José, California, had to be placed in storage for over ten years as a result of fierce resistance from a small group of Hispanic residents. The huge statue of de Onate in El Paso, Texas, had to be renamed The Equestrian, as a statue of de Onate was not acceptable to the Native Americans. Protests were also voiced against the statue of the same controversial de Onate in Alcalde, New Mexico.

At his own expense, Harding commissioned Thomas Brock, to create an equestrian statue of the Black Prince. Objections were raised, for while the Prince’s military prowess was undisputed it was justifiably claimed that he was an incompetent and autocratic administrator who hardly represented the concept of democracy and civic virtue which underlay the aspiration of Leeds following confirmation of city status a decade earlier. Such considerations were, however, brushed aside.

Other subjects of dispute were the harmony with the surrounding buildings, such as the dispute between the sculptors Chiaradia and Gallori and the architect of the monumental buildings around, concerning the huge statue of Vittorio Emanuele in Rome, or, the choice of the people to be placed on the pedestal of the statue of Friedrich der Grosse in Berlin, and discussions about the position of the horse. Especially in the UK, such a discussion could be intense and long lasting (see Section 2.4.4: the equestrian of Haig in London, by Hardiman).

1.9.5 Death of the sculptor as a cause for delay

As we have already seen, it was sometimes the case that the artist responsible for the design and construction of a statue died before its completion. Verrochio died in 1488, and his competitor Leopardi finalized the famous Corleone statue. The death of Giambologna in 1608, with the completion by his talented pupil Tacca of the statues of Ferdinand I in Florence, Henry IV in Paris and Philip III in Madrid, are other examples. And there are more.

Some sculptors barely survived the dedication of their creation>, for example Crawford, who died only weeks after the unveiling of his Washington statue in Richmond in 1857, at the age of only 47.

Most tragic was the death of Shrady in 1922. He spent 20 years of his life on the Grant memorial in Washington DC and died, stressed and overworked, two weeks before the dedication of the monument.

Sometimes the production process took so many years that tastes had changed in the interim. This happened to no less a person than Bernini, who started work on a baroque equestrian statue of Louis XIV in 1669. Four years after Bernini’s death in 1680, the statue was shipped to Paris. Louis XIV was not at all happy with the result and ordered the subject to be changed to Marcus Antonius.

One example of the portrayed being changed as a result of the length of the production time is the sculpture of Vittorio Amadeo I in the staircase of the Palazzo Reale in Turin. The original idea was to dedicate the statue to Emanuele Filiberto. Rivalta carved the horse in marble in 1619 and Vanello realized the figure of the sovereign in bronze. The different parts of the monument were joined and completed only in 1663, when the features of Vittorio Amadeo I were substituted for those of Filiberto.

1.9.6 Post-completion challenges

Once a statue is completed, the next question is whether the principal is happy with the result. That was not always the case, as we have already seen in the case of the equestrian statue by Bernini for Louis XIV. There are more examples. Philip IV of Spain for instance did not like the now famous statue by Tacca, as he thought that the face was totally wrong. The statue was decapitated, and a new head was fashioned to the approval of the king. The oldest equestrian in Vienna, the statue of Franz I by Moll (1781), was not accepted by the principal and it was left to the family of the sculptor, to be placed in a public place only 16 years later.

A critical phase in the process once the statue is finished is the transport to the site where it is to be erected. A phase not without problems, as in the early days the equestrians could be cast only in those (limited number of) places where they had mastered the technique of casting large bronze statues.

Just to mention some of these problems:

  • The Henry IV statue was shipwrecked near Sardinia on its voyage from Florence to Paris. It took a year to recover the statue.
  • One of the Horse Tamers by MacMonnies in Brooklyn, cast in France, had to be recovered and repaired after being damaged in shipping and then lost in a shipwreck off Newfoundland.
  • The ship carrying the statue of Chandra Shumsher sank in 1930 on its way from the UK to Nepal, but was fortunately well insured.
  • The statue of Sheridan (Chicago) was so large that the train carrying it from New York to Chicago had to be rerouted several times to avoid low underpasses.
  • The statue of the Black Prince had to be transported in 1903 by ship from Antwerp to Leeds. Transhipment of the cargo to a barge from the steamer on which it was transported from Antwerp to Hull was not without drama. Fear that the statue might be broken while being hoisted by a steam crane into the hold of the barge caused the dock management to refuse to load the cargo unless indemnified against potential damage. The sculptor had to give (and gave) the required assurance.

Once on the site where the statue has to be erected, the installation is the final phase. This is also not without risk, as the installation of the Washington statue in Richmond Virginia shows us. The 18-ton statue was cast in Munich in 1857, boxed and transported over the Atlantic to Richmond, where enthusiastic citizens amassed at its destined place. The question was who to select as the contractor to raise and place the huge and heavy statue upon the lofty pedestal. No one was anxious to take the job, as a miscalculation in the design of the devices to be used would result in destroying ‘this superb work of art’. Captain Charles Dimmock was selected to do the work. This engineer had to threaten his workers at gunpoint when they appeared to be letting go of the rope, thus risking wrecking the statue. He wrote in two letters to his son how he did it. A quote out of his first letter shows how critical the actual situation was:

Judge my feeling when I tell you that I had 12 men at the machine with the spars 40 feet exactly over them. I commanded them not to leave their hold, or I would shoot them. In 15 minutes I managed to start again, when the two posts, to which the guys were fastened and upon which all depended, yielded, which we braced just in time to prevent a downfall. All this time at least 2,000 people surrounded me.

A few examples of equestrian statues with extremely long time spans between the idea and the completion:

Thorvaldsen started his work on the Poniatowsky statue in 1826. Only four years later was the model ready to be cast. This, however, had to be postponed, as all the furnaces in the foundry were needed for the production of guns for the November Rising in Warsaw. Once the Russians had subdued the rising, the statue could be cast, but the political will of the Russian rulers prevented the erection of the statue as a Polish national monument. So the statue was put aside and it was only in 1923, when Poland again emerged as an independent country, that the statue was unveiled, almost a century after this classical work had been designed. The Germans blew up the statue in World War II and the Danish people gifted a replica in 1951.

The monument of Peter I in Saint Petersburg took a time span of 84 years between its commissioning to Rastrelli in 1716 and its erection in 1800. The artist worked for eight years on the project before the emperor approved a model, a year before his death. The casting was completed after the death of the sculptor in 1747, but the statue was put aside in a local warehouse as Catherine the Great had ordered another monument of Peter the Great (The Bronze Horseman by Falconet). The equestrian by Rastrelli was only erected in 1800 during the reign of her successor, Paul I.

The last example is the statue of William III in London. This equestrian was ordered in 1697, but apparently the funds needed were not available at the time. So nothing materialized until 1712, when Richard Jones stated in his will that the balance of his assets and debts should go to ‘erecting in St. James’s square the statue of my dear master King William on horseback in brass’. But the balance must have been zero or negative, as nothing happened. The will of Samuel Travers, deceased in 1725, also provided for a statue to be erected in the same square ‘to the glorious memory of my master King William the Third’. This will was contested. John Cheere commissioned a lead equestrian statue, but it was never installed and was last seen in 1739, in the artist’s yard. I would not be surprised if the statue in Petersfield, UK, turns out to be the one originally destined for St James’s Square in London. It was only in 1795 that enough funds became available to commission the building of the statue to John Bacon Junior, after a design by John Bacon Senior. The actual cost of the statue was UK £3,275 (£215,000 in today’s buying power). The statue was finally erected in 1808, some 115 years after the original order.

In sharp contrast to all these long-term projects in the past, a quote from an Associated Press statement of 14 February 2012 about the unveiling of the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang North Korea:

Son Kim Jong-un initiated the project two months ago to build the statue of the late leader, said Ro Ik Hwa, a sculptor from the Mansudae Art Studio. “So far, there has not been any example of making a giant horse-riding statue like this within two months,” he told AP. “We sculptors worked day and night to complete it, showing the loyalty of our people”.

1.9.7 Dedication

All the hurdles have been overcome; the equestrian statue is finalized and has to be dedicated. Often this was enough reason for sumptuous festivities with military bands playing, bishops praying, masses and benedictions, artillery salutes and cannons booming, speeches and orations, poems, hymns, ceremonial diners, guests of honour, etc.

It is not only the inauguration of the statue itself. Even the unveiling of the pedestal could be a good reason for festivities.For instance, the pedestal for the statue of Charles IV in Mexico City was inaugurated in 1796, with large and well-attended parties and bullfights. A temporary statue, constructed out of wood and gilded stucco, and representing the Spanish monarch, was placed on top of the pedestal. The statue itself was inaugurated in 1803 and the celebrations and bullfights were repeated on that occasion with great jubilation.

The Maria Theresia monument in Vienna was inaugurated in 1888. The monument took 15 years and 800,000 guilders to complete (€7.3 million in today’s buying power). <The inauguration was quite an event, with swarms of doves, a Te Deum by the archbishop and 20 other bishops, hymns, 101 cannon shots and all the church bells of Vienna ringing when the monument was unveiled. >The Emperor and Empress attended the ceremony together with 10,000 guests. The cost of the festivities was close to €270,000 in today’s buying power. Eight people fainted (one of them being the son of the sculptor) and two bag snatchers were arrested. The sculptor was in uniform, bearing the Order of Franz Joseph awarded to him the evening before.

The dedication of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Denkmal in Kyffhäuser, Germany, took place in 1896. Among the 30,000 people attending were 17,000 soldiers with 1,700 flags, numerous military bands and guards of honour and of course Emperor Wilhelm II with his guests: dukes and grand dukes, the King of Württemberg, counts and countesses, princes and princesses, marshals and generals, the chancellor and ministers, etc.

It was not only in Europe that equestrian statues were unveiled with splendid ceremonies. Throughout the Western Hemisphere, the dedications were also often imposing.

Some of those ceremonies have been extensively described, for example the unveiling in 1916 of the Sheridan equestrian statue in Albany, New York. A booklet of no fewer than 124 pages describes almost everything with regard to the statue: the origin of the movement, the artists, the parade and unveiling ceremony, the reception, the dinner, etc., including the texts of addresses and remarks by dignitaries. The booklet ends with a list of all the committees and their members. There were committees for the grandstand, decorations, publicity, music, the entertainment for visiting organizations, souvenir badges, carriages and automobiles, transportation, the parade and the reception. And of course, a citizens’ committee, a Philip H. Sheridan camp no. 2000, sons of veterans committee, a list of officers of the joint committees and not to forget the New York State Sheridan Monument Committee.

And then the magical moment of the unveiling itself.

A description based upon a press report covering the unveiling in 1912 of the Draper statue in Milford:

It was the hand of Miss Margaret Preston Draper, the daughter of General and Mrs. Draper, which drew aside the silken screen of red, white and blue, and then for a full second there was a tense stillness as the gray-haired veterans looked upon the familiar features of their well loved commander and comrade and the rest of the immense throng stood as if transfixed by the spectacle. And then as the strains of ‘Hail to the Chief’ rang out from the band, there echoed a cheer that could be heard for miles and which continued for a full minute while the music played on.

 The number of people attending the ceremonies was sometimes astonishing. More than 200,000 people attended the dedication of the Grant statue in Chicago in 1891, and more than 100,000 people the ceremonies in Richmond in 1890 when the Lee statue was unveiled.

From the more often recited parts of the paper by S. H. Kaufmann, describing the dedication of the Thomas statue in Washington in 1893:

Doubtless the most elaborate and imposing ceremony that ever marked an occasion of the kind in Washington, or perhaps anywhere in this country, were those attending the inauguration of the statue of Major General George H. Thomas … Many of the principal buildings, as well as some of the busy thoroughfares of the city, were handsomely decorated in honour of the occasion, and the immense throngs of people in the streets included not only citizens of Washington, but large numbers of visitors from distant and widely separated sections of the country. The procession was two hours in passing a given point, and the brilliant military display embraced a group of such celebrities as are rarely brought together, including General Sherman… Music for the occasion was furnished not only by the marine and military bands of Washington and the neighbourhood, but by others scarcely less popular or less famous … and the effects of the soul stirring contributions of these were supplemented and heightened by the rendering of appropriate hymns and odes by a choir of more than fifty well selected and admirably qualified male voices. Nor should mention be omitted of the large number of civic and patriotic organizations present, which, by their participation in the events of the day, added not only materially to the volume of the marching thong, but greatly also to the interest and impressiveness of the occasion.

And don’t think that only in the past were the dedications so sumptuous.

The quote here is from a Reuters report on the unveiling in 2015 of the statue of Berdymukhamedov in Turkmenistan: ‘The composition was unveiled in Ashgabat on Monday, to cheers of “Glory to Arkadag!” from assembled students, as white doves and balloons were released into the sky’.

And more from the Associated Press report on the unveiling of the Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung statues in Pyongyang in 2012 (see Section 1.2): ‘Workers fanned out across the capital city to decorate streets with flowers and North Korean flags. They pounded at frozen flowerbeds with picks, making space to plant row after row of bouquets made of fabric’.

That festivities around the dedication were not always a success was shown by the inauguration of the Vercingétorix statue in Clermont-Ferrand (France) in 1903. The inauguration, with much pomp and circumstance, was followed by a gigantic banquet for 4,500 people. >According to local historians, so many people showed up that the food ran out and the meal turned into a plate-throwing, fist-fighting brawl.>