Harsh sunlight can sometimes turn the subtleties of sculpture into a mixture of uninformative black and equally uninformative white, so the diminished but more ambient light I had to make do with may have helped, although a bit more ambient light would have helped. And I fear that in any sort of light, the inscription on the base of the statue (in photo 2) would have been a photographic struggle. You can just about make out that William Huskisson was born in 1770 and died in 1830, but if you care about these dates, you’d probably want to check them out.
The anonymous writer of this piece about the Huskisson Statue refers to it as “rather Roman”. This is like calling an F1 racing car “rather fast” or the Milky Way “rather big”. Huskisson dates from the era when politicians liked to dress up as Romans for portraits and statues, an era that ended with the mid-nineteenth century expansion of the franchise. At which point politicians stopped dressing in a way that emphasised how different and aristocratic and educated and virtuous and special they were, and switched to being ceremonially portrayed in the way that they actually dressed in their regular lives, i.e. a smarter version of the way everyone dressed. “I’m special” turned into “I’m one of you”.
Huskisson’s main claim to fame now is that he was the first mere person ever to be killed in a railway accident. Lots of people must already have died in the course of constructing railways and locomotives, but Huskisson was the first civilian, so to speak, to be killed by this newfangled technology.
More impressive to me is that, as much as he could manage to be within the limits of political necessity and ambition, Huskisson was an old-school classical liberal. At one point in his career, somebody tried to get him to impose a legally enforced minimum wage. Huskisson brushed the notion aside as foolishness. Good for him.
Here is what the Adam Smith Institute’s Madsen Pirie has to say about Huskisson.