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Edinburgh, Canongate, 5 Crichton's Close, Scottish Poetry Library

Library (20th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Canongate, 5 Crichton's Close, Scottish Poetry Library

Classification Library (20th Century)

Canmore ID 291101

Site Number NT27SE 6181

NGR NT 26531 73784

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/291101

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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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

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 (20 December 2000)

Double-sided frosted/etched glass screen of 3 panels within a steel bannister at the edge of the mezzanine above the stair. Large clear letters on the stair side, and a selection of landscape references in phrases from poems in the collection, form a horizontal overall pattern in small etched letters on the mezzanine side.

The artist, Elizabeth Ogilvie, describes it as 'an attempt to extract an essence of Scotland, its land and people.'

See EDIN0306

Inscriptions : In glass on stair side::

THIS HOUSE, THIS POEM.. THIS FRESH HYPOTHESIS (Quotation from Iain Chricton Smith's 'Sonnet' from 'The White Noon' collection)

In glass on the mezzanine side (small etched upper case letters): [a selection of texts in Scots, English and Gaelic, beginning with Thomas the Rhymer and ending with George Gunn]

Signatures : None

Year of unveiling : 1999

Unveiling details : Building opened in June 1999

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0307)

Field Visit (20 December 2000)

A relief of a 'carpet' of oak leaves and some acorns is carved into flagstones on the ground in the paved entrance area outside the door to the Scottish Poetry Library.

A 4ft high stone block serves as a lectern to the left of the door, inset into the work at the third row of paving flags from the left.

The sculpture echoes the extensive use of wood on the building (oak).

See EDIN0306

The phrase 'by leaves we live' is a quotation from Patrick Geddes.

Inscriptions : Beside relief in front of door (incised letters): by leaves we live [across 3 flagstones]

Signatures : None

Year of unveiling : 1999

Unveiling details : Building opened in June 1999

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0308)

Field Visit (22 August 2002)

Two wooden constructed sculptures of abstracted boats on vertical forms suggestive of pier supports. Both have sail forms but 2 (on right) has its 'sail' up.

Inspected By : D. King

Inscriptions : None

Signatures : 1) (on left) signed on base: I M '84

2) (on right) signed on prow of boat: I M '84

Design period : 1984

Year of unveiling : 1999

Unveiling details : Building opened in June 1999

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0507)

Field Visit (24 March 2003)

Within a carved roundel is a stag's head with a cross between its antlers, flanked by two harps.

The stone is based on the heraldic emblem of the Canongate, a stag's head with a cross between its antlers, and refers to the legend of the founding of Holyrood Abbey.

Inspected By : D. King

Inscriptions : Below roundel (incised letters):

SIC ITUR AD ASTRA / THE NEW SCOTTISH POETRY LIBRARY / 1st AUG 1997

[= thus they go to heaven]

Signatures : None

Unveiling details : Building opened in June 1999

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0506)

Field Visit (27 April 2009)

Sixteen strips of text and two blank strips are integrated into full-length glass panels forming the entrance to the Scottish Poetry Library. The vertical strips lean towards the entrance.

According to the artist, the strips suggest trees or bookends.

The original Scottish Poetry Library was opened by Tessa Ransford and her husband Tom Hubbard in Tweeddale Court in 1984. The present building, opened in 1999, was designed to incorporate public art. Spaces were identified, then a group of artists was invited to discuss how to fill them.

Text Intervention (read from outside the building) represents one verse from a 17th century Gaelic poem, 'Rug eadrain', alongside Scots and English translations. In it, the poet addresses the Marquis of Argyle, asking him to restore the poet's patrimony.

The poem was selected by the director of the Scottish Poetry library, Tessa Ransford.

The English version is by Derick Thomson, the Scots version is by Neil R. MacCallum.

Inscriptions : Strip on inside of glass pane nearest the door (coloured letters on black strip): CREANDO PENSAMUS [a quotation from St Columba]

Strips on outside of glass panes, from left to right:

(1) (black strip): IT IS NOT GOLD NOR OTHER TREASURE

(2) (clear strip): THAT YOU WILL GET FROM ME IN SPECIAL

(3) (clear strip): IT IS NOT TRIBUTE NOR GIFT OF CATTLE

(4) (coloured letters on black strip): BUT THE CHOICEST OF OUR HARD WROUGHT POEMS

(5) (clear strip): NI H-OR NI H-IONMHUS EILE

(6) (white strip): [fragments of old writing]

(7) (black strip): DO GHEIBHA UAIM DAIRIDHE

(8) (black strip): NI CANA NO COMHA CRUIDH (crosses over the 9th strip)

(9) (white strip): [fragments of old writing]

(10) (black strip): ACHT ROGHA AR NDANA DHEACRUIGH

(11) (black strip): IT ISNAE GOWD OR ITHER TREISURS

(12) (black strip): [blank]

(13) (black strip): ARGYLE IN SPEICIAL WINS FRAE ME

(14) (white strip): [fragments of old writing]

(15) (black strip): I GIE NAE NOWT AS YUISSLESS FAIRINS

(16) (black strip): BUT BRAW POEMS ALANE FOR YE

(17) (black strip): [blank]

Signatures : None

Year of unveiling : 1999

Unveiling details : Building opened by Alistair Darling, MP in June 1999

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0306)

Project

A selection of sites from the over-arching Scotstyle list which would potentially form a survey of the post-1975 buildings.

References

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