Looming down from its high-up precarious perch and dangling in miniature to decorate earlobes, the humble traffic cone has become the signature image of Glasgow.

At some point in the distant past, someone - possibly drunk, most definitely having a laugh - climbed the Duke of Wellington statue and propped a cone on the metal head of Arthur Wellesley.

It was classic Glasgow irreverence: there was the Duke, cast in bronze, set in the grand sounding Royal Exchange Square and placed outside the neoclassical Gallery of Modern Art.

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Has anything been more desperate to have its pomposity punctured?

No - and the long game paid off because the city's mysterious commitment to ensuring that cone remains in situ at all times is what attracted Banksy to GoMA.

Both the artist and Glasgow locals alike have a propensity for sneaking out under the cover of darkness to create modern art in public places.

And during the 10 week run of Banksy's Cut & Run exhibition the cone and the Duke have been a focal point.

The equestrian statue was already regarded as one of Glasgow’s most famous landmarks.

Now A-listed, the statue of the Duke of Wellington on his favourite horse Copenhagen was sculpted by Italian artist Carlo Marochetti and erected in 1844.

It commemorates Arthur Wellesley, the British supreme commander during the Napoleonic Wars who was victorious in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

For at least 40 years dedicated pranksters - or students coming out of Strathclyde University Union - have placed an orange road traffic cone on the Duke’s head.

No one knows who the first person was to clamber up the plinth and place a cone on the Duke’s head.

Whispers over the years have implicated Glasgow City Council replacing the cone to ensure the tourist draw is protected - but council insiders strenuously deny this is the case.

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In 2011, the 'coneheid' statue was named by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 most bizarre monuments on Earth.

In 2013, a public outcry caused Glasgow City Council to withdraw plans to raise the statue’s plinth to above 6ft in an effort to "deter all but the most determined of vandals" from placing traffic cones on the Duke’s head.

The council claimed that the cost of removing the cone each time was £100.

The proposed £65,000 refurbishment aimed at ending the practice, which Glasgow City Council said projected a "depressing" image of Glasgow, was dropped after a petition attracted more than 10,000 signatures and a 'Save the Cone' Facebook page attracted over 70,000 likes.

Over the years, the Duke has sported a number of different ‘themed’ cones on his head as a form of protest or to coincide with major events.

In 2012, the statue sported a gold cone to commemorate team GBs success at the London 2012 Olympic Games, before the statue was given an Irn-Bru cone makeover by campaigners who wanted to restore original recipe in 2018.

And in 2020, the orange traffic cone was changed to a blue one with yellow stars to mark Britain’s official exit from the European Union.

During the Banksy exhibition the Duke even found himself wearing a Spiderman mask, in a new addition to his wardrobe.