Accessibility

Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Edinburgh, Nicolson Square, Brass Founders' Pillar

Commemorative Monument (19th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Nicolson Square, Brass Founders' Pillar

Classification Commemorative Monument (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Brassfounders Column

Canmore ID 118660

Site Number NT27SE 1496

NGR NT 26065 73190

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/118660

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2022.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Activities

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 (23 June 2008)

Standing figure of Tubal Cain, the biblical brass founder and ironworker, surmounts a square-sided bronze pillar decorated with coats of arms on shields arranged vertically. He holds up a hammer in his right hand.

Coats of arms on shields, top to bottom:

East side (facing street): ENGLAND / PERTH / LINLITHGOW / KIRCALDY / JEDBURGH / PAISLEY

South side: IRELAND (angel and harp) / EDINBURGH (castle) / STIRLING (castle, flat with rocks) / AYR (castle with three turrets) / INVERNESS (crucifix) / BRASSFOUNDERS (central hand grasping a crowned hammer, with inscription scroll either side. Below is ironwork supporting cups [?] above bronze pouring vessel surrounded by shamrocks, thistle, rose and tools)

West side: IMPERIAL / DUNDEE / ST ANDREWS / MONTROSE / DUNFERMLINE / LEITH

North side: SCOTLAND / ABERDEEN / GLASGOW / DUMFRIES / DUMBARTON (elephant) / GREENOCK (sailing ship)

At the other end of the garden is a columnar fountain with basins of stylised plant forms. This was built by George Smith & Co. of the Sun Foundry in Glasgow, in 1859, and was restored as part of the garden refurbishment in 2008 (slide ref 5/8).

The Brassfounders' Column was commissioned for the Edinburgh International Exhibition of 1886, held in The Meadows. (It won a gold medal). James Gowans designed the column and John S. Rhind was the sculptor of the statue.

The column was subsequently moved to Saughton Park. In 1908 the Town Council of Edinburgh received a letter from the secretary of The United Journeymen Brassfounders, Turners, Fitters, Finishers and Coppersmiths' Association of Great Britain and Ireland (East of Scotland Branch) asking the Magistrates and Council to accept the column (which belonged to the Members of the Trade) as a gift to the city of Edinburgh (1). The gift was accepted and, in January 1909 it was decided to site the column at the east end of Nicolson Square Gardens facing Nicolson Street (2).

Inspected By : D. King

Inscriptions : East side above each shield (top to bottom, raised letters): ENGLAND / PERTH / LINLITHGOW / KIRKCALDY (motto on ribbon at top of coat of arms: VIGILANDO MUNIO) / JEDBURGH (motto on ribbon at top of shield: STRENVE ET-PROSPERE) / PAISLEY

South side above each shield (top to bottom, raised letters): IRELAND / EDINBURGH / STIRLING / AYR (motto on ribbon at top of shield [incised letters]: SIGILLUM BURGI DE AYR; below ribbon [incised numbers]: 1202 / INVERNESS / BRASSFOUNDERS (motto on ribbon at top of shield: UNITED WE STAND)

West side above each shield (top to bottom, raised letters): IMPERIAL / DUNDEE / ST ANDREWS / MONTROSE (motto on ribbon at top of shield: ROSA . FLORAET; motto on ribbon at bottom of shield: MARE DITAT ROSA DECORAT) / DUNFERMLINE (motto on ribbon at bottom of shield: ESTO RVPES INACCESSA) / LEITH (motto on ribbon at top of shield: SIGILLUM OPPIDI DE LEITH; motto on ribbon at bottom of shield: PERSEVERE; below ribbon: 1563)

North side above each shield (top to bottom, raised letters): SCOTLAND / ABERDEEN / GLASGOW (motto on ribbon at top of shield [incised letters]: LET GLASGOW FLOURISH) / DUMFRIES (motto on ribbon at top of shield [incised letters]: A' LOREBURNE) / DUMBARTON (motto on ribbon at top of shield [incised letters]: FORTITUDO ET FIDELITAS) / GREENOCK (motto on ribbon at top of shield: GOD SPEED GREENOCK)

On bronze plaque on east side of base (raised letters): EXECUTED AND ERECTED / BY THE BRASSFOUNDERS OF EDINBURGH AND LEITH, / IN COMMEMORATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF 1886, / AND PRESENTED TO THE CITY / BY THE EAST OF SCOTLAND BRASSFOUNDERS SOCIETY 1909. / DESIGNED BY JAMES GOWANS, LORD DEAN OF GUILD OF EDINBURGH.

On metal plaque on the east side of the top step of the base (incised letters): THIS COLUMN. WHICH WAS BLOWN DOWN IN A GALE ON 14 JANUARY 1968, / WAS RENOVATED AND RE-ERECTED IN JUNE AND JULY 1976 BY STAFF / AND STUDENTS OF TELFORD COLLEGE OF FURTHER EDUCATION UNDER / THE DIRECTION OF B. McLEAN HEAD OF THE FABRICATION AND WELDING / ENGINEERING SECTION. THE RESTORED PILLAR WAS UNVEILED BY / COUNCILLOR JOHN GRAY ON 17 JULY 1976 IN THE PRESENCE OF MEMBERS / OF THE RECREATION AND LEISURE COMMITTEE OF THE CITY OF EDINBURGH / DISTRICT COUNCIL.

Signatures : None Visible

Design period : 1886

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN1308)

References

MyCanmore Image Contributions


Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions