Strange and Intriguing Scottish Sculptures

Scotland is arguably one of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world. Its culture, history, and highlands make it a place worth visiting. Aside from those, Scotland is also famous for its bizarre sculptures. All of these Scottish sculptures have stories behind them some of which are tragic, funny, or quite uncanny.

Russell Head

One of the most strange Scottish Sculptures has to be the Russel Head in Aberdeen. This bust represents George Russell, a Scottish baker who lived during the 19th century. According to the story, Russell’s neighbor complained that his bakery had a foul smell. In order to upset his neighbor even more, Russell had a bust of his screaming head made so that the neighbor would have to look at his face every morning.

russell head of scottish sculptures
Luis D. Urea

Our Lady of the Isles

This sculpture of the Virgin Mary and Jesus was an act of social and environmental activism. In the 1950s, the Scottish Ministry of Defence decides to test out nuclear weapons. For the tests, they choose South Uist, an island on the west coast of Scotland. However, this sparks an outrage on a massive scale. To stop the ministry from destroying a part of the island, a local priest and his congregation build this statue representing the sanctity of the island.

our lady of the isles of scottish sculptures
Steve Annells

Tick Tock

Peter Pan is surely one of the most well-known characters of all time. The book’s author, James Matthew Barrie, was born in Scotland in 1860. To commemorate the author and his achievements, the Scottish built a theme park. One of the attractions of the park is the sculpture of Tick Tock the Crocodile. The crocodile villain of Captain Hook swallowed an alarm clock that still works and makes sounds.

tick tock the croc
Seanetta (Atlas Obscura)

The Lost XVII

These sculptures that look like fire hydrants actually tell a story from ancient times. When the Romans invaded Britain, they raided Scotland and fought Scottish tribes as well. One of the legions sent to the land, Legion XVII lost their ways and the soldiers were never seen again. Some say that the legion disbanded after a heavy loss, and some say they were sent to another location.

the lost seventeen soldiers of roman army
Thomas Nugent

East Coast Fishing Disaster Memorial

This memorial sculpture is about one of the biggest tragedies in Scottish history. In 1881, nearly 200 fishermen from the town of Eyemouth sailed despite the very bad weather. Europe in general was experiencing heavy storms and winds during that time and the sailors knew the risks. They had to sail because fishing was their only source of income. On 14th October, their boat capsized and 189 fishermen lost their lives. The sculpture honors their sacrifice and shows the devastated people left behind.

fishing disaster memorial of scottish sculptures
Joyce Russell

David Livingstone Statue

David Livingstone is one of the most important Scottish figures. He was a physician who turned into one of the most prolific explorers and travel writers. Livingstone was the first person to ever travel the whole of Africa from west to east and discover rivers and lakes in the process. His statue in Blantyre, his hometown, depicts him running away from a roaring lion, a probable scene from his safari experiences.

david livingstone statue with a lion
Luis Lopez

Dudley the Cat

The sculpture which is known as Dudley the Cat, honors a local woman and her cat whom she loved very much. In Linlithgow, which is also the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, lived a woman named Liz Burrows. Burrows was an avid helper to the community and the local organization that helped maintain Union Canal Basin. Following Burrows’ and her cat’s death, the committee built the sculpture as a “thank you” for her and her efforts for the town.

dudley the cat of scottish sculptures
Andrew O’Donnell

Lion and Unicorn Staircase

One of the oldest Scottish Sculptures is the Lion and Unicorn Staircase of the University of Glasgow. Believed to be built in the late 17th century, the staircase is a Category A building which means that it is of high historical importance in Britain. The lion represents England while the unicorn represents Scotland. Many believe that sculptures bring luck to the students as well.

lion and unicorn staircase at the entrance
Irina Bachina