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Cultural References & Memorials to Maxwell

JCM Tapestry

Today, James Clerk Maxwell is remembered in many ways, including artworks, music, a play and memorials. Here we look at a few of these.

The James Clerk Maxwell panel from the Great Tapestry of Scotland features Maxwell's equations, and modern inventions based on his discoveries. There is also a reference to the Tartan Ribbon photograph. The panel was designed by Andrew Crummy and stitched by ‘The Gladsmuir Group': Patricia Coupe, Pru Irvine, Susanne Lowe & Celia Williams. James Clerk Maxwell is also featured on another panel called "Parliament of the Ancestors".

Courtesy of Alex Hewitt Photography and The Great Tapestry of Scotland Trust

Glasgow musician and composer PJ Moore (of ‘The Blue Nile') is an enthusiastic promoter of James Clerk Maxwell's memory. An example of his work is this video piece (Vimeo) which combines the animations from Maxwell's zoetrope and images of Glenlair (Maxwell's country home), with words written by Maxwell at age 23 set to Paul's music.


A song and video (YouTube) about JCM, with words by Howie Firth and music by Andy & Flora Munro. This was written in 2012 and has been performed many times since then to appreciative audiences.





James Clerk Maxwell statue and side panels, unveiled on 25th November 2008, George Street, Edinburgh Sculpted by Alexander Stoddart, Her Majesty's Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland For more information on the statue, see articles by Prof. Duncan Macmillan and James Rautio

Photographs © James Rautio

Maxwell&Demon_sm_WayneChabre James Clerk Maxwell and Demon, 1989

Gargoyle by Wayne Chabre in hammered copper, 40" x 30" x 18" University of Oregon, Sciences Complex, Eugene, OR Courtesy of Jeanne McMenemy, photographer.

James Clerk Maxwell by Tracy H Sugg S

"James Clerk Maxwell" life-size portrait bust, stoneware clay Tracy H. Sugg, Sculptor. Collection of Col. Barry Shoop, US Military Academy, West Point.


Bust of James Clerk Maxwell at Marischal College, University of Aberdeen. Sculpted by Charles d'Orville Pilkington Jackson. The bust was commissioned to mark the centenary of Maxwell's appointment as Professor at Marischal College. The wooden surround includes the crest of the University of Aberdeen and Maxwell's humorous signature dp/dt.

Relativity play FST

'Relativity", a play about Einstein by Mark St. Germain. Note the portrait of James Clerk Maxwell which is a central feature of the set.

The play is set in Einstein's study where he is visited by a journalist, Margaret Harding, who is there to interview him. Margaret is particularly interested in his family (there is a suggestion that Margaret is really Einstein's lost daughter, Lieserl). The third character in the play is Helen Dukas, Einstein's secretary.

Here is a brief excerpt from the script:

Margaret looks at the portraits on the wall.

Margaret: Thank you. This is Gandhi, of course. (The next) Michael Faraday?
Einstein: Very good.
Margaret: (The last) This man is a mystery.
Helen: (Pleased with herself) James Clerk Maxwell. (Carefully, to impress) He proved magnetism and electricity were the same.
Einstein: Excellent! Go on, explain the electromagnetic field.
Helen: I have no time. One person in this house should be working.
Margaret: No pictures of your family?
Einstein: This is my scientific family.

Excerpt by kind permission of Mark St. Germain. Stage set photograph from the June 2016 world premiere of 'Relativity" at Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota, Fl by kind permission of the director, Jason Cannon.



Clerk-Maxwell WIndow by John Reglinski edited by JWA 170423copy

James Clerk Maxwell memorial window in Corsock Church near Glenlair. The window was originally in the old Corsock parish church, which was built in 1839 largely through the generosity, enthusiasm and support of John Clerk Maxwell, James's father. In 1947 the parish church and the free church merged, and the window was moved to the free church.

James Clerk Maxwell's gravestone at Parton Kirk.

JCM Grave

Parton Memorial

Roadside memorial plaque outside Parton Kirk.


Memorial tablet in the nave of Westminster Abbey, London By kind permission of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey

The JCM Foundation is a charity formed in Scotland in 1977. (Registered Charity SC015003)
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