ST BERNARD'S WELL, OFF ST BERNARD'S BRIDGE, INCLUDING STAIR, WALLS, RAILINGS AND PLAQUE (Ref:27905)
This building is in the Edinburgh Council and the
It is a category A building and was listed on 14/12/1970.
Group Items: see notes,
Group Cat: A,
Map Ref: NT 2445 7424.
Alexander Nasmyth, 1789; restored by Thomas Bonnar Junior, 1888. Replacement statue of Hygeia by D W Stevenson, 1888. Roman Doric temple over mineral spring pump room, comprising open rotunda with 10 columns, on rusticated base; alternating paterae and triglyphs to entablature, surmounted by lead dome, with pineapple finial; 10-panel studded timber door at NE of base, leading to pump room, with tooled ashlar lintel, reading 'St Bernard's Mineral Well'; barred window at SW of base.
STAIR: ashlar T-plan stair with landings, to E, with ashlar treads, saddleback copes.
WALLS: squared and snecked sandstone wall to NW, with triangular coping, capped with roll moulding.
RAILINGS: ashlar copes surmounted by cast-iron railings with spear-headed finials at SE; decorative cast-iron railings to NW.
PLAQUE: pink granite and metal wall-mounted plaque, comprising round arch supported by Corinthian columns, with reverse ogee-moulded base, surmounted by entablature with armorial cartouche and foliate decoration. Metal medallion with profile bust, centred in recess, above inscription reading, 'The Liberal Deviseth Liberal Things. Erected by the Lord Provost Magistrates and Council of the City of Edinburgh to commemorate the public spirit and generosity of the late William Nelson of Salisbury Green who having purchased, restored and embellished St Bernard's Well and the surrounding grounds gifted them to the corporation for the benefit of the citizens of Edinburgh in all time coming. January 1888. The Right Hon Sir Thomas Clark Bart., Lord Provost'.
Part of the Edinburgh New Town A Group, one of the most important and best preserved examples of urban planning in Britain. St Bernard's Well was commissioned from Nasmyth in 1788 by Lord Gardenstone, replacing a well house of 1760, and building, by John Wilson, was begun the following year. The original figure of Hygeia was made of Coade stone. Although best known as a portrait and landscape painter, Nasmyth's experience as a landscape consultant lead to him to design various buildings, including bridges at Almondell, West Lothian and Tongueland, Kirkcudbrightshire. Nasmyth's original and much copied painting of St Bernard's Well is in the Georgian House, Edinburgh (National Trust for Scotland). St Bernard's Well was built at the expense of Francis Garden of Troup.
Gifford, McWilliam and Walker, EDINBURGH (1984), p404; Cooksey, ALEXANDER NASMYTH (1991), pp22-3, 89, 90; McKean, EDINBURGH (1992), p121; Colvin, A BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS 1600-1840 (1995), p695, MacRae Heritors 41.
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