David Livingstone Statue – Blantyre, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

David Livingstone Statue

The only statue ever crafted by award-winning animator Ray Harryhausen. 


Throughout the world, there are a variety of statues, memorials, and other commemorations dedicated to the Scottish physician, missionary, and explorer David Livingstone. But the one located on the grounds of his birthplace, in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, (eight miles southeast of Glasgow) is rather unique and special. 

Dedicated in April 2004, the David Livingston Centre unveiled a larger-than-life-size statue of a real-life event, involving a lion attacking Livingston and two African natives. What makes this sculpture one of a kind is that it was designed and overseen by the late Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen was an Oscar-winning, American-British animator and special effects wizard.

The figure of Livingstone is not only the sole public statue Harryhausen ever created. Harryhausen also happened to be married to Diana Livingston Bruce, the great-granddaughter of Livingston.

The effigy took a full 12 years to complete, from the beginning stages of a series of small sketches to the casting of the sculpture out of bronze. Harryhausen initially created a miniature out of beeswax and then oversaw the project, as it was handed over to the Irish artist Gareth Knowles to complete. The project was funded in large part by The National Trust of Scotland.

Know Before You Go

The David Livingstone Birthplace Centre has it own operating times, check website for further information. The statue is located in an adjacent park which is free to access. There is public parking on the premises.

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February 3, 2023

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