My lunch with mythical unicorn


Another walk through University Campus and I am trying to enjoy Glasgow Summer.


 When the University moved to its new site in Gilmorehill in 1870, the staircase designed in 1690 by William Ridder for the old collage buildings in the High Street was transported and incorporated into the new building.


The Lion and Unicorn Staircase provided access to Memorial Chapel on the west side of the Main Building from The Square. Animals have always played a very important part in the myths since the earliest times, and the unicorn provides a fascinating example of this.

‘The lion and the unicorn

Were fighting for the Crown;

The lion chased the unicorn

All around the town.

Some gave them white bread,

and some gave them brown

Some gave them plum cake

And drummed them out of town.’ 

This old middle ages rhyme had become a part of English folklore and legend, and children later recited the nursery rhyme about the furious fight between the lion and the unicorn, which took place “all around the town”.


White, graceful as a thoroughbred and with a long tapered horn spiralling out from its forehead, the unicorn has beguiled people since ancient times. The idea of a one-horned beast (unicorn means “one horn”) has, since the earliest times, exerted such a powerful influence over the imaginations of men that the idea of such a beast still persists to this day. Aristotle, who lived from 384-322 BC, believed in the existence of a one-horned animal. In the Old Testament, the word “unicorn” appears. In the original Hebrew the word appears as “re’em”, meaning auroch, or European ox. In 1551 German naturalist publishing a woodcut of a unicorn.

In 1603, when James VI of Scotland became King James I of England, he added a chained unicorn to the British royal coat-of-arms.

Myths grew up about the unicorn’s behaviour and spiritual significance. Unicorns were also became emblems of courtly love.

What is important in that unicorn myths maybe his strength, exotic?

They still intriguing perhaps because they are not exist.



About conservationwithella

Hello, I'm Ella, Art on Paper Conservator & Preservation Manager at Glasgow University Archives and Special Collections. This blog is a walk through my daily life, work, arts & crafts history, my discovery that everything in my life is enough to be a continuous source of reflection. I started blogging to entertain myself but I hope you enjoy it too. I'm sure you agree, that Life without art is nothing. :)

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