WHERE IS IT? Set within two alcoves on the south facing wall of Hutcheson's Hall on Ingram Street in the Merchant City district
The two sculptures of Glaswegian siblings George and Thomas and Hutcheson were created by James Colquhoun in 1655 and 1659 respectively.
They originally decorated the north side of the original Hutcheson Hospital that served the Trongate district. The statues commemorated the two lawyers and philanthropists who bequeathed some of their small fortune to a trust for the construction of two buildings; a hospital for poor craftsmen and “the decrepit old men of Glasgow,” and a school for the city’s orphans. While the school still exists, although now as the private Hutcheson Grammar, the hospital was demolished in the late 18th century to make way for the layout of Hutcheson Street. However, the statues were saved and plans were set in motion to build another hall that would serve as the brothers’ originally intended. In 1802 the well-known architect David Hamilton drew up plans for Hutcheson Hall - he also designed the nearby Royal Exchange (now GoMA) at the top of Ingram Street). Hamilton managed to incorporate the statues, now believed to be Glasgow’s oldest portrait sculptures, into the exterior aesthetic of the building.
The statues, now in storage, were repaired by another sculptor, William Reid. He provided them with new bases and inscriptions. They were added to the building’s façade in 1824, although placed in the wrong niches. There is also the rather grave error on George Hutcheson’s inscription; it originally claimed he had died in 1693, and not 1639. The mistake has gone unfixed, but has been reduced in its size by someone twisting the ‘9’ to change the date of death to the earlier 1663, only 30 years out instead of 66! In 1876 one of Hamilton’s former students, John Baird, was tasked with remodelling the interior after it had been used as a hospital, a library and a bank. The original three floors were reduced to two, opening up the double-height hall, allowing more appreciation for the majestic stain glass windows. Hamilton’s exterior remained largely unchanged, from the statues themselves to the crowning clock tower with its rich blue clock face, and the cone spire stretching up to the clouds.
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