A touch of Victorian Gothicness in Edinburgh


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Praskipark on October 8, 2012

Walking through Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh is a wonderful experience for many reasons but the reason I love to take a stroll is to see all the monuments. On the eastern side is a fantastic piece of Gothic architecture dedicated to Sir Walter Scott; a very popular Scottish novelist, poet and playwright. My favourite books of his are Rob Roy and Ivanhoe. He wasn't only famous in the United Kingdom but all over the world and had a very successful career as a writer.

On my visit in June of this year, I could see a superb piece of architecture as I approached the eastern side of the gardens and although its Gothicness stands out a mile there is something rather odd about the design of the structure. I think it is something to do with the way the columns slope upwards forming a point. In some ways it looks like a jet or a rocket. At first I didn't notice the marble monument placed inside the space resting between the four columns as I was facinated by this Victorian masterpiece.

The figure of Scott was designed by John Steell and made from Carrara marble which is quarried in Tuscany, Italy. The colour of the monument is a contrast against the background of the grimy coloured sandstone of the towers and columns of the Gothic structure which was built from a very durable stone known as Binny stone. This particular type of stone attracts grime and soot caused by Edinburgh's pollution because it contains a residue of shale oil.

At first when I looked at the marble figure of Scott I thought it was white but looking a bit closer I noticed that it was flecked with grey.The monument has a somewhat sad look about it. Scott looks in a pensive mood as he sits with his dog beside him, his book closed and his mind, obviously somewhere else. Perhaps the story he was writing wasn't finished and he was thinking of an ending or perhaps he was tired and just having a rest. The finish of the sculpture is very smooth. I wanted to stroke his head of hair and also the dog who has a devoted expression on his face. I love the way Scott's cloak flows around his legs in large folds. His shoes are beautifully carved as are his hands and face.

Inside the stone structure are a series of viewing platforms. To reach these you have to climb a very narrow, spiral staircase which makes you feel a bit dizzy if you rush up the steps too quickly. The monument is just over 200 feet high and the top viewing deck is situated at the top of the 287th step. I really do not like heights but over the last few months I seem to have been looking at views from many great heights. This particular one wasn't too high and I didn't feel to bad. It was worth the trip up the staircase just to see the beautiful views of Edinburgh. The light on this day was perfect and I was able to see a long way off.

There are many monuments to see in Edinburgh but I do really like this one very much. The Gothic structure is unusual and the way the marble figure of the famous writer is placed between the columns, adds a little mystery and magic to the whole monument.
Scott Monument
Princes Street Gardens
Edinburgh, Scotland, EH2 2EJ
+44 131 529 4068

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