Monday, 6 December 2010

The Mystery of Lincoln's Chair, continued.

M'learned readers have already proposed several explanations for Lincoln's empty chair: that it signifies his approachability; the fact that his life was cut short; his disdain for the political systems of Ancient Rome (possibly a bit of a stretch, this one) or his skill at oratory. I'm most impressed by all these theories, though I still think it looks a bit silly.

One correspondent also wonders when and why a statue of an American hero came to be erected in Parliament Square. A little poking around reveals it was unveiled in 1920, having been delayed by the First World War, and was intended to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, and thus peace between English speaking nations. (Tangent: Has this peace been maintained for the subsequent ninety years, I wonder? I certainly can't think of a war since between nations with English as their first language.)

Also, there was some disagreement about which of two statues to present. In the end, the less favoured one was sent to Manchester, where it still stands. Because in it Lincoln looks rather gaunt and haggard (even for him) and has his arms crossed over his abdomen, it became known as the Stomach Ache, or the Tramp With The Colic.



(In this statue, Lincoln has no chair. How the people of Manchester are expected to tell how good an orator he was, or how much he hated Rome, I have no idea.)

26 comments:

Mags said...

It does look like he thinks you are going to steal his wristwatch.

Which would be very precognicient of him since they where invented 3 years after his death.

Amazing fellow that Lincoln.

Daedalus said...

Looks more like the next Doctor Who...

Mags said...

Which would explain why he knows about wristwatches. What with all the time travelling.

Daedalus said...

Regarding peace between English-speaking nations, I suppose some post-colonial wars in Africa (or even India v Pakistan) could be seen as violations of the Pax Anglorum.

The Treaty of Ghent Centennial story, while technically true, sounds like a cover. A bit of sucking-up, possibly? Maybe some new Yanqui millionaire wanted to see his hero enshrined alongside Palmerston. A bit of money here and there...

rossbennett said...

I didn't mention this in the earlier thread because I didn't want to be all comic-book-guy "Well actually." The post was splendid and enjoyable without all that.

Also because I was embarrassingly so far off base with the David Mitchell little red lighthouse thing, which I still haven't figured out or found a reference to.

But since it has piqued the interest and sparked so much discussion, I'll just throw in that the eagle on the back of the chair was the tip-off that the earlier statue is a copy of one in Chicago.

The rationale for the design is in the write-up of that one.

http://bit.ly/hj4hr4

Persephone said...

John, was Lincoln a Mason? Or the sculptor, perhaps? Or both? There is a Masonic Lodge Empty Chair Ceremony connected with the American Civil War.

Piques said...

You've misunderstood me. I have no idea what Lincolns thoughts towards Rome were. Lincoln is often regarded by historians as the president that ushered in a new era that would become the US as it is today. He is credited with having started the modern day Republican Party. It was post Civil War US that turned the wealthy, dominate Southern States into the the 3rd world conditions that they are still suffering through today. That in turn encouraged the industrial rise of the northern States as well as the agricultural rise of the mid and western states.

The country that we see shaped today began its transformation with Lincoln.

I was suggesting (rather weakly) that as the chair strongly suggests Roman design that it could be representing a walking away from the old to the new.

For the record, I don't think that this is likely. Actually, I have always seen the modern US as Rome just before its fall.

The artist, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, was said to be an admirer of Lincoln as many were in his era. I think I read that as a young man he saw Lincoln and was impressed by his humble demeanor (which is clearly seen in this statue). The Standing Lincoln is the representation of Lincoln standing to deliver a speech. There is a juxtaposition of this historically significant juggernaut and the humble, quiet unassuming man. The most obvious explanation is that without the chair the statue does not effectively communicate that. Without the chair he is in a contemplative moment. He would only be the man as we see in Manchester. Standing up from the chair denotes that he is in action. The chair itself gives us the representation of the power he yielded.

Can I add that not only does the artist share the name of one of the more famous Roman leaders, he also studied in Rome. I don't think that the fact the chair is so evocative of Rome is accidental. I suppose that the chair being the seat of power of the United States and the fact that the US has chosen two strong Roman symbols (the eagle and the fasces) both represented in the chair along with the design of a Roman throne, is meant to evoke the best of Rome rather then the worst.

Daedalus said...

The bit.ly link is suspect.

This one isn't...
Lincoln Park Statue, Chicago IL

Lincoln was, of course, "The Man from Illinois", though he was famously born in a log cabin in what is now Kentucky.

rossbennett said...

Yeah...though the whole thing about the bitly link being weird is itself a bit stupid.

I don't particularly find it alarming or surprising that the world might use a URL shortener more than once when the original link is

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM3RPW_Abraham_Lincoln_The_Man_Standing_Lincoln_by_August_Saint_Gaudens_Chicago_IL

rossbennett said...

Good heavens, even Blogger chops off the full link.

Okay..here's a Google-shortened same:

http://goo.gl/izjKQ

Or get rather annoyed typing in:

http://www.waymarking.com/way +
marks/WM3RPW_Abraham_Lincoln_ +
The_Man_Standing_Lincoln_by_A +
ugust_Saint_Gaudens_Chicago_IL

Mags said...

On a lighter note has MJN been anywhere near Southhampton recently?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-11954462

positive affirmation said...

I trust in the process of life
There is a rhythm and flow to Life, and I am part of it. Life supports me and brings to me only goods and positive experiences. I trust the process of life to bring me the highest good.

Kelly said...

Perhaps the chair is a purely aesthetic consideration. Soldiers' statues depict them soldiering; with lots of great wardrobe and accessories and stuff. Lincoln was a president. A statue of a guy just, you know, presiding ... that's pretty bland. It needs something to fill the frame. That would be why the one without accouterments got shunted off someplace less conspicuous.

Escorts said...

really next Doctor Who.......

Anonymous said...

I love johnfinnemore.blogspot.com! Here I always find a lot of helpful information for myself. Thanks you for your work.
Webmaster of http://loveepicentre.com and http://movieszone.eu
Best regards

Anonymous said...

[url=http://loveepicentre.com/][img]http://loveepicentre.com/uploades/photos/8.jpg[/img][/url]
dating young girls in costa rica [url=http://loveepicentre.com/map.php]j michaels mike james dating[/url] matthew gubler dating
best christian senior dating services [url=http://loveepicentre.com/success_stories.php]instant messenger dating[/url] single free christian dating service
teen dating violence websites [url=http://loveepicentre.com/articles.php]hack dating paysites[/url] dating teen girls

Anonymous said...

what is community portal software http://buyoem.co.uk/product-37022/Alltags-Notizen-2011-German glimpse scaning software [url=http://buyoem.co.uk/es/product-31590/Audiofile-Engineering-Loop-Editor-1-5-MAC]black berry mobile software[/url] gogear sa261 software
[url=http://buyoem.co.uk/product-37354/Ultra-Video-Splitter-6-0]Ultra Video Splitter 6.0 - Software Store[/url] brad johnson norm software
[url=http://buyoem.co.uk/es/product-35557/Transmit-4-1-MacOSX][img]http://buyoem.co.uk/image/5.gif[/img][/url]

Anonymous said...

who developed stock picker rt software http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/product-36685/MecSoft-Corporation-VisualCAM-1-0 boinc software [url=http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/es/category-3/Gr-ficas-y-publicaci-n]wireless lan hacking software[/url] maxa software
[url=http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/product-33396/Adobe-Dreamweaver-CS5-MAC]Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 MAC - Download OEM, Software Sale, OEM Software[/url] shipping locations world map software mapit
[url=http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/product-36792/Adobe-Flash-Media-Interactive-Server-4-5-x64][img]http://buyoem.co.uk/image/3.gif[/img][/url]

Anonymous said...

accd driver software http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/product-36215/IMagic-Hotel-Reservation-4-3 gaming software 3dice blackjack [url=http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/de/product-24835/Virtuoza-Software-InControl-2-5]computer discount hardware software[/url] slavehack 5.0 software list
[url=http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/product-17437/Coda-Mac]Coda [Mac] - Cheap Legal OEM Software, Software Sale, Download OEM[/url] best tablet pc software
[url=http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/product-35982/Hyperionics-Hypersnap-6-9][img]http://buyoem.co.uk/image/4.gif[/img][/url]

Anonymous said...

It is particularly helpful as you fight off this yeast infection in mouth.

Are you looking to get rid of troublesome yeast infections.
Candida bacteria feed on other weakened friendly
bacteria in the human body.

Feel free to surf to my weblog: dangers of yeast infection and pregnancy

Anonymous said...

Even just 15 minutes a day keeps your piano playing ability in tune.
So you want to learn how to play the piano. ][.

Here is my website: learning piano chords and scales

Anonymous said...

Then, cells that destroy bacteria and cell debris wipe out the yeast.
The most common feature of yeast infection are-. Get
the answers you're looking for.

my page; vaginal yeast Infection and symptoms

Anonymous said...

When you're learning chords, you learn and study them for only One Key at a time. Now among the advice of your educational materials, shoring jar discover all the things of the substitute chords. Pretend that we are palming an egg and keep your arms relaxed and fingers curled.

Also visit my homepage :: jar of hearts piano chords and lyrics

Anonymous said...

Fun and nutritious Paleo Toddler Dessert Recipe.
By meat I mean red meat, white meat and seafood. - Vegetables are low in sodium less water retention.



Also visit my website; paleo diet and crossfit

Anonymous said...

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a
lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.

I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message
home a little bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic
blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.



Also visit my blog post: match dating

Anonymous said...

One thing is the fact one of the most common incentives for making use of your
card is a cash-back or rebate offer. Generally, you will get 1-5% back with various acquisitions. Depending on the cards, you may get 1% back on most acquisitions,
and 5% again on purchases made going to convenience stores, filling stations, grocery stores in addition to

Also visit my weblog; http://www.sendetiklat.net/Apparel/arlene-albert-public-profile/