PICTURES: Iconic Three Graces statues Faith, Hope and Charity overlooking River Ness in Highland capital hit by sickening graffiti attack
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HISTORIC landmark statues which hold a special place in the hearts of many in the Highlands have been attacked by vandals.
Popularly known as The Three Graces, the statues depict the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity and sit outside Ness Bank Church overlooking the River Ness.
The iconic piece has a rich history having at one point sat atop a building on the corner of High Street and Castle Street, one of the most prominent locations at the heart of the Highland capital.
In a mindless act of vandalism, the word 'No' has been daubed on the plinth in front of the name of each of the virtues.
It now reads: 'No Faith No Hope No Charity' and has the words 'Inver drunkards & junkies' scrawled below.
It's not yet known what material was used in the attack.
It's not the first time it has attracted the attention of vandals with traffic cones being placed atop their heads on more than one occasion.
The Three Virtues were sculpted by Andrew Davidson in the 1870s. He was commissioned by the Young Men's Christian Association and the statues were intended to represent Christian virtues much valued by Victorians. They were installed at their present riverside location in 2011.
Prior to that they had been stored in the burgh surveyor's yard for a spell in the 1950s after the building they were originally placed on changed hands, becoming Mackay's Tartan and Tweed Warehouse and, later, Grant's Tartan and Tweed Warehouse.
The statues were snapped up by an antique collector from Orkney in 1961 and remained there until the council purchased them in 2007.
The statues were reinstated to the city with the support of the Inverness Common Good Fund as they are deemed to be part of the city’s heritage.
A ceremony was held in October 2011 to mark the return of the statues to Inverness.
Locally the statues have always been known as Faith, Hope and Charity although they were never erected in that order.
They were erected on the plinth on which they now stand in the same order as they were atop the former Association buildings: Charity, Faith, Hope.
Faith, Hope and Charity are the three virtues referred to by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians in the Bible. The statue characters are intended as the personification of these virtues.
Anyone with information can contacted the police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.