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Edinburgh, 14 George Street, Commercial Bank

Bank (Financial) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Edinburgh, 14 George Street, Commercial Bank

Classification Bank (Financial) (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Royal Bank Of Scotland; The Dome

Canmore ID 113267

Site Number NT27SE 784

NGR NT 25445 74014

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/113267

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Architecture Notes

NT27SE 784.00 25445 74014

Architect: David Rhind

Sculptor: Alexander Handyside Ritchie

Sculptured work in pediment designs 1845: James Wyatt, JNR

REFERENCE

RIAS Drawings Collection - James Wyatt, Jnr. 1845 - competition design for sculptured wok in pediment. preliminary sketch & finished drawing

Activities

Photographic Survey (November 1964)

Photographs of the exterior of the National Commercial Bank, 14 George Street, Edinburgh, by the Scottish National Buildings Record in November 1964.

Project (1997)

The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (http://www.pmsa.org.uk/) set up a National Recording Project in 1997 with the aim of making a survey of public monuments and sculpture in Britain ranging from medieval monuments to the most contemporary works. Information from the Edinburgh project was added to the RCAHMS database in October 2010 and again in 2012.

The PMSA (Public Monuments and Sculpture Association) Edinburgh Sculpture Project has been supported by Eastern Photocolour, Edinburgh College of Art, the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, Historic Scotland, the Hope Scott Trust, The Old Edinburgh Club, the Pilgrim Trust, the RCAHMS, and the Scottish Archive Network.

Field Visit (24 April 2002)

In a triangular pediment at the top of the facade is a group of figures, from E. (left) to W. - boats, an anchor, parcels, a seated female figure holding a sextant in her right hand [Navigation]. On the ground at her side is a circle on which is the sun. Next to her is a large wheat sheaf [Agriculture]. Then a horse facing out, with its head bowed. A man stands beside the horse, his right arm resting on the horse's shoulder. Next are two female figures with a child. The woman in the foreground and the child hold a cornucopia from which spills fruit [Plenty]. The woman in the background holds a set of scales over her left arm [Justice]. In the centre of the pediment is a large figure of Caledonia [Scotland], standing, holding a bunch of leaves in her right hand and drapery in her left. To the W. (right) of Caledonia is a female figure with her right arm raised, looking up at Caledonia, holding a long piece of material around her [Enterprise]. Next are three men, the first facing W. the second, bearded, looking at the first. The third man also looks at the first while half-crouching and holding the lid of an open chest in which are bundles of cloth. More bundles lean against another two chests. Behind the third man is a large square package tied with rope [Merchandise]. Next is a seated draped female holding a mirror [?] in her left hand. She is looking down at it and has her right hand raised at her right shoulder. In the bottom right (W.) corner are three naked children with a cog [Science].

[At the AGM of the RSA, held on 11 November 1846, Alexander Handyside Ritchie was elected an associate of the RSA (The Art-Union, vol.7, 1846, p.335)]

Different sources describe the figures slightly differently. The title above has been taken from The Art-Union of 1846, as it was published at the time of the building's completion. The Art-Union, vol. 7, 1846, p.234 describes the pediment as follows: 'In the centre a figure of Scotland, supported by Justice and Enterprise, is receiving from the hands of Plenty the fruits of her industry. Impersonations of Agriculture and Navigation, with emblems and accessories, fill up the dexter side of the pediment. On the sinister side are figures representing Merchandise and Science, while a group of three children peering into the peculiarities of a notched wheel complete this very interesting group.'

The Art-Union also comments on the figures being 'carved in full relief, and of colossal life size. They entirely fill the tympanum, and several of of the leading points project beyond the boundary lines of the pediment. This is the first instance, in so far as we are aware that this experiment has been made in this kingdom.'

Inspected By : T.S.

Inscriptions : None

Signatures : None Visible

Design period : 1843-1847 (B of S) 1846-1847 (SDD)

Year of unveiling : 1846

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0641)

Field Visit (24 April 2002)

There are large lions' heads around the building above the ground floor windows (2 on E. facade, 2 on W. facade, 6 on George St facade) and above the entrance (one head).

There are smaller lions' heads on the cornice around the building (10 on E. facade, 10 on W. facade, 6 on George St facade).

On the outer doors of the entrance are circular panels containing a caduceus (one on each door).

Above the inner doors are two winged lions standing back to back.

Inspected By : T.S.

Inscriptions : None

Signatures : None

Design period : 1843-1847 (B of S) 1846-1847 (SDD)

Year of unveiling : 1846

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0642)

References

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