Thursday, 19 July 2007

The Black Man

For years I have been under the impression that this statue of Henry Cooke outside Belfast Royal Academical Institution was called the 'Black Man'. Well, actually I think almost everybody refers to it as the Black Man but apparently this statue replaced the original Black Man (the Marquis of Donegall 1855) which is now in Belfast's City Hall - if you click on the link you will see why his statue is known as the Black Man. .... and all these years I thought it was because Henry Cooke, like Johnny Cash, always dressed in black. You see, blogging is educational (c:= I don't recall ever seeing the statue, which is now in the City Hall, in position in front of R.B.A.I.

According to Wikipedia : Maghera was the birth place of the noted theologian Dr Henry Cooke. A statue of Cooke called the "Black Man" stands outside Royal Belfast Academical Institution in Belfast.

.... and from Belfast City Council website: His statue, known to locals as the Black Man, was erected in College Square East in the city centre in 1876

Which explains why I never saw the Marquis of Donegall's statue there.

According to Victorian Web:

Where Fisherwick Place intersects with Wellington Place stands the dark-green, weathered bronze statue that locals persist in referring to as "The Black Man," even though the real "Black Man" statue that once occupied the 1855 plinth — Patrick McDowell bronze of the young Earl of Donnegal — now stands overlooking the ground floor of the rotunda in the City Hall. Removed from its original site in 1868, that life-size statue had been painted black to preserve it from the elements. It stood for some years in the Public Library before being transferred to the new City Hall in 1906. The man depicted by the present "Black Man" statue, its back turned to the Academical Institution, is the noted Evangelical Presbyterian minister Dr. Henry Cooke (1788-1868). So opposed was he to the religious tolerance advocated by the Unitarian-leaning Academical Institution that his many followers saw additional significance in that fact that S. F. Lynn's 1875 statue has been positioned so that it looks down Wellington Place, scorning (as it were) the institution with whose principles of tolerance Cooke so rabidly disagreed.