The owners of a much-loved statue of Scotland’s patron saint have appealed for the safe return of his left hand, years after the disciple and his digits became separated.
The bigger than life-size statue of St Andrew, a copy of the sculpture by Francois Duquesnoy which has pride of place in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, was gifted to the University of St Andrews in the 1960s.
The statue, which is the work of Mussleburgh-born sculptor Alexander Handyside Ritchie (1804 to 1970), was a feature in the foyer of the North British & Mercantile Insurance Company building in Edinburgh before its donation to St Andrews.
For almost four decades, St Andrew has lived modestly in the shrubbery of the Botanic Garden car park in St Andrews, and it was during this period that he and his hand parted company.
Now the University plans to clean, restore and move the historic statue to a central location and has appealed to generations of students past and present for information leading to the whereabouts of the missing hand.
Dr Katie Stevenson, University of St Andrews Assistant Vice-Principal (Collections), is leading the restoration project.
“The hand of St Andrew is an important part of the statue’s history. Before it came to the University in the 1960s, St Andrew sat in the foyer of the North British & Mercantile Insurance Company building in Edinburgh and as members of staff came in to work they touched his fingers to bring them luck,” she said.
“We are pleased to be able to retrieve Andrew for conservation and repair and we hope that his new home in the gardens of the University Museum on The Scores in St Andrews will allow people to enjoy him. It would be wonderful if we could locate his original hand for our repair work.”
The statue will be moved from its current location for restoration work before the end of this year and will be reinstated in the grounds of the University museum in Spring 2019.
In the longer term, St Andrews is hoping to give Andrew a permanent home on the lawns of Madras College in South Street.
Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.University news