Appeal to find missing hand of St Andrew statue

The St Andrew statue.
The St Andrew statue.

The University of St Andrews has appealed for the return of a statue of Scotland’s patron saint’s left hand, years after the disciple and his digits became separated.

The statue of St Andrew was donated to the university in the 1960s, and for decades lived at the Botanic Garden car park.

It was during this time that the left hand of the statue disappeared.

The university now plans to clean, restore and move the statue to the lawns of Madras College, and is appealing to generations of students, past and present, for information leading to the whereabouts of the statue.

The statue is a copy of the sculpture by Francois Duquesnoy, which has pride of place in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It is the work of Mussleburgh-born sculptor Alexander Handyside Ritchie (1804-1970).

Dr Katie Stevenson, University of St Andrews assistant vice-principal collections, is leading the restoration project: “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.”

The statue will be moved for restoration work before the end of 2018 and will be reinstated in the grounds of the university museum in 2019. In the long term, the hope is to give the saint a permanent home on the lawns of Madras College in South Street.