The statue of Adam Smith which will soon go up in the historic heart of Edinburgh is taking shape. It’s currently in the workshops of Morris Singer, the specialist art founders, where sculptor Alexander Stoddart has been adding some finishing touches. According to Stoddart it is one of the best castings he has ever worked with, faithfully reproducing every detail of his original model.
The statue shows Smith in later life – he spent the last twelve years of his life in Edinburgh, where he had been appointed a Commissioner of Customs, which might explain his slightly stern look.
Behind him is a ploughshare, modelled from a contemporary plough in the Scottish Farming Museum, which reminds us of an economic doctrine from which Smith made great advances – the physiocrat doctrine that all wealth stemmed ultimately from agriculture. To his front is a beehive, a symbol of industry, topped by a globe on which Smith rests his hand – made invisible by his academic gown. When viewed from the High Street, Smith’s academic dress will dominate, reminding us of Smith the philosopher; and behind him we will see St. Giles’s Cathedral, complementing the evocation of eternal ideas. Viewed from the other side, Smith’s everyday wear dominates, reminding us of Smith the economist; and behind, the City Chambers (on the site of the office where Smith used to work) complements the evocation of the changing, current ideas of economics and politics.
There are even references in the work to Smith’s support for trade with America. His neckware is modelled on that worn by Thomas Jefferson, his wig on a likeness of George Washington.
The most likely date of the unveiling is Friday 4 July, but as yet this has not been confirmed. We will post further information as and when it becomes available.