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Edinburgh, Canongate, Robert Fergusson Statue

Statue (21st Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Canongate, Robert Fergusson Statue

Classification Statue (21st Century)

Canmore ID 302344

Site Number NT27SE 6067

NGR NT 26452 73800

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/302344

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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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 (1 February 2006)

The slim figure of Robert Fergusson strides down the Canongate, his coat tail flying, and clutching a book to his chest with his right hand.

The statue was commissioned by the Friends of Robert Fergusson. By 2001, three sculptors had been shortlisted: David Annand, Bill Scott and Jill Watson (2). Their maquettes were displayed around Edinburgh for six months, with the public being invited to vote for their favourite. More than 15,000 people voted, and David Annand's maquette took 67 per cent of the vote in 2002 (3). After the necessary funds (c.£30,000) were raised, the statue was finally unveiled on 17 October 2004. The inscription on the pavement was added later.

Robert Fergusson (1750-1774), poet. When he died in the Edinburgh Bedlam aged 24, he left only fifty poems in English and thirty-three in Scots. Robert Burns later paid for a gravestone for Fergusson's pauper's grave in the Canongate Kirkyard, regarding him as 'my elder brother in misfortune, / by far my elder brother in the muse'. (1) A small engraving used on early editions of Fergusson's poems is the only known portrait.

Inscriptions : In stones in pavement either side of the statue, set at an angle to the normal paving stones (incised letters):

(Church side): AULD REEKIE WALE O ILKA TOUN THAT SCOTLAND KENS BENEATH THE MOON / WHARE COUTHY CHIELS AT E'ENING MEET THEIR BIZZING CRAIGS AND MOUS TO WEET

(Street side): AND BLYTHLY GAR AULD CARE GAE BY / WI BLINKIT AND WI BLEERING EYE // ROBERT FERGUSSON SCOTS POET / BORN IN EDINBURGH 1750 / DIED IN BEDLAM 1774

On bronze plaque on railings behind: [Biography of Robert Fergusson] / STATUE - given to guid fouk o' Edinburgh by Friends of Robert Fergusson / SCULPTOR - David Annand FOUNDER - Powderhall Bronze / PLAQUE - Presented to our friends, the people of Scotland by The Burns Society / of the City of New York and St Andrews Society of the State of New York.

Signatures : None

Design period : 2001-2004

Year of unveiling : 2004

Unveiling details : Unveiled by Lord Provost Lesley Hinds on 17 October 2004

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN1547)

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