WILLIAM GLADSTONE MEMORIAL COATES CRESCENT AND SHANDWICK PLACE (Ref:27856)
This building is in the Edinburgh, City Of Council and the
It is a category A building and was listed on 14/12/1970.
Group Items: N/A,
Group Cat: N/A,
Map Ref: NT 24390 73497.
J Pittendrigh McGillivray, 1916-17. Renaissance pedestrian monument, consisting of red granite plinth with central and subsidiary bronzes. (30ft high, 28ft wide, 15ft deep) Stepped and shaped base rising to dentilled cornice. Shaped split level plinth to front supports bronze of 2 boys with eagle and laurel wreath standard and inscribed banner. Large flanking consoles with pilasters to side and Doric scroll to rear support seated bronzes representing Eloquentia to left and Historia to right. Circular plan plinth bracketed at 4 corners to support subsidiary plinths. Life size bronze figures representing Fortitude and Measure to front, Militaria and Faith to rear, fronting bronze pilasters with half Ionic capitals. Cornice with bronze egg and dart moulding. Central plinth supports further bronze plinth with primary bronze figurative statue of W. E. Gladstone in Chancellors robes.
A fine example of the work of Glasgow based sculptor MacGillivray, the Gladstone memorial is especially noted for the carving of the 'Historia' figure. MacGillivray had a number of important commissions, including producing figures for Glasgow City Chambers. He also sculpted several other public memorials including Robert Burns in Irvine (1895) and the Byron statue in Aberdeen. Only a limited number of his public works survive, far outnumbered by his smaller private commissions. The Gladstone Memorial is an important example of his public work.
The figurative group which surrounds Gladstone outlines the virtues of the man and they each carry implements suitable to their subject. Historia is, for example, seen with an open book in her lap.
The memorial forms an important part of the streetscape past and present. Although originally sculpted for this site it was opposed by the proprietors and on completion it was placed on the West side of St. Andrew's Square between 1917 and 1955. Reinstated to its intended position it provides a key termination to the axis down Walker Street from Melville Street. As well as marking the centre of Coates Crescent and articulating the green space that separates Coates Crescent from Shandwick Place.
(List description revised in 2009 as part of re-survey.)
Glasgow Herald (18 January 1917), J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p 371, R L Woodward, Virtue and Vision: Sculpture in Scotland, 1540 -1900 (1991), C Byrom, The Edinburgh New Town Gardens, (2005) pp 351-8,
www.victorianweb.org/sculpture/jpm/pmov.html (accessed 18.2.08),
www.edinphoto.org.uk (accessed 18.2.08),
www.glasgowsculpture.com (accessed 12.2.08).
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