University leads search for St Andrew statue’s missing hand
Current and former students of Scotland’s oldest university are being asked to help in the search for the missing hand from a statue of St Andrew.
The university that took his name launched its appeal on St Andrews Day as it announced plans to restore the statue and put it on display.
The large statue of St Andrew, a copy of the sculpture by Francois Duquesnoy in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, was gifted to the University of St Andrews in the 1960s.
It was made by Mussleburgh-born sculptor Alexander Handyside Ritchie and before its donation to St Andrews it stood in the foyer of the North British & Mercantile Insurance Company building in Edinburgh, where staff touched the statue’s hand for luck.Some touched the statue’s hand for good luck (University of St Andrews/PA)
For almost four decades the statue was in the Botanic Garden car park in St Andrews and at some point lost its left hand.
The university now plans to clean, restore and move the statue to a central location.
It has appealed to generations of students past and present for information on the missing hand.
Dr Katie Stevenson, who is leading the restoration project, said: “The hand of St Andrew is an important part of the statue’s history.
“Before it came to the university in the 1960s, St Andrew sat in the foyer of the North British & Mercantile Insurance Company building in Edinburgh and as members of staff came in to work they touched his fingers to bring them luck.
“We are pleased to be able to retrieve Andrew for conservation and repair and we hope that his new home in the gardens of the university museum on The Scores in St Andrews will allow people to enjoy him. It would be wonderful if we could locate his original hand for our repair work.”
The statue will be moved from its current location for restoration work before the end of this year.
In the longer term, the university plans to install it on the lawns of Madras College.