THE QUEEN’S sculptor in Scotland has said it is pointless trying to stop people rubbing the nose of Greyfriar’s Bobby.
Alexander Stoddart, who has the grand official title of “Sculptor in Ordinary to The Queen in Scotland”, said the famous statue should be allowed to age gracefully.
Mr Stoddart, from Paisley, Renfrewshire, spoke out after Edinburgh Council spent £400 restoring the terrier’s black nose only for a vandal to scour off the coating days later.
Bobby’s nose had become shiny as a result of the recent “tradition” of locals and tourists rubbing it for good luck.
But Mr Stoddart, whose works grace public spaces in Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as Buckingham Palace, says trying to protect the statue could encourage “barbarians” to knock it down.
Writing on the website of a group campaigning to stop people rubbing Bobby’s nose, he said: “The desire to touch and fondle parts of statues is something of which I do not really approve.
“My own view is that any attempt to prevent people touching works of art like this would be bound to unleash a tide of resentment against them, and lead to wholesale attacks and every kind of toppling.”
Opposing regular restoration of Greyfriar’s Bobby, he added: “Makeovers are for TV shows. We live in the real world. The statue suffers in parallel with us, and so is a kind of companion.
“Periodically he can be restored, but only in real emergencies.”
Mr Stoddart suggested that the “authorities arrange for a mould of the piece to be taken off the original, and for a re-casting to be made”.
He added: “This would be prominently displayed in a museum, where the civilised Hands Off culture can be defended and respected.”
Mr Stoddart, whose role as Sculptor in Ordinary means he is part of the Royal Household, created
He recently compared a move to relocate statues in Glasgow’s George Square to the Taliban’s destruction of ancient Buddhist monuments in Afghanistan.
Police are investigating last week’s attack on Greyfriar’s Bobby.
They are believed to be studying footage from a nearby CCTV camera to try to identify the person who used a scourer to remove the black coating applied just days before.
Specialists restored the statue after passers-by rubbed the nose down to the bronze from which it is made.
The group who campaigned for a stop to the practice of nose-rubbing have said they will shut down their Facebook page.