ADORNING the main lobby of one of the world’s most famous luxury hotels is a depiction of a little piece of home which should leave any visiting Scots swelling with pride.
Enter New York’s extravagant Waldorf Astoria Hotel and you’ll come face to face with one of the finest examples of foyer furniture to be found anywhere around the globe.
Standing at nine feet tall the Waldorf’s ornate World’s Fair Clock dating from 1892 was produced to mark the quatercentenary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America.
The clock appeared at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (hence its name) before being purchased by the Astor Family in 1931. The melody for its quarterly chimes is copied from the clock at Westminster Cathedral. At the clock’s summit, a gilded miniature of Lady Liberty stands proudly in all her glory.
Detailed bronze reliefs circling the clock’s octagonal base reference both the Old World and the New; seven of them showing prominent former US presidents with a scene which positively illustrates their time in office.
The final relief is a portrait of Queen Victoria. Situated directly below her likeness is a bronze depiction of the then newly-completed Forth Bridge. Its inclusion in such a prestigious setting serves as a timely reminder that the famous cantilever rail bridge, now Scotland’s latest UNESCO World Heritage Site, was regarded as a true wonder of the age and one of the crowning achievements of Victoria’s long reign.