The Longfellow
The Longfellow
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‘The greatest Victorian city in the world.’ That was how the late Sir John Benjeman, Poet Laureate and expert on all things Victoriana, saw central Glasgow – and nowhere is this Victoriana more evident than at the Kibble Palace, where even today, when you begin to walk around it, the first impression you have is to half expect meeting some Victorian gent ambling towards you and tipping his top hat en passant.


And as you exit the Kibble, the last marble statue you will see is this very Victorian-like ‘long fellow’ in the corner, namely King Robert of Sicily sculpted by George Henry Paulin (1888-1962), the character based on “The Sicilian Tale” in Tales of a Wayside Inn by the American poet of the period, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His poem refers to an arrogant king who is deposed by an “angelic” emissary, stripped of his robes, and forced to assume the role of a king’s jester, with only a monkey as a friend.


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