Dandy Lion – Elgin, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Dandy Lion

Elgin, Scotland

A baffling beast so absurd a town councilman called it "intellectual vomit in technicolor." 


This baffling beast may well be the most hated statue in Scotland. Part lion, part mermaid, and part top hat-wearing, mustache-bearing hipster, it’s a shockingly absurd addition to a town known for its medieval ruins.

The 10-foot-tall Dandy Lion was unveiled in 2016 as part of the Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere heritage project to bring a bit of fresh new art to downtown Elgin. But instead of ushering in a wave of enthusiasm, the quirky statue was drowned in an ocean of criticism.

Unfortunately for the statue (and the artist behind it), many view the jovial hybrid creature as anything but dandy. It’s been deemed an eyesore unfit to stand among the historic monuments and buildings in the town center. One councilman went so far as to call it a “cultural and intellectual vomit in technicolor.” Harsh words for an artwork meant to inspire whimsy.

Yet still, passersby can’t resist snapping photos of the dapper beast. The statue seems to slowly be worming its way into the community’s heart. It’s made its way onto postcards and even gotten to participate in Halloween after some people dressed it up in a costume. Locals also seem to have taken a page out of Glasgow’s book and occasionally plunk a traffic cone atop the Dandy Lion’s head.

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