DUNDAS CASTLE, FOUNTAIN SUNDIAL (Ref:5513)
This building is in the Edinburgh Council and the
It is a category A building and was listed on 22/02/1971.
Group Items: See notes,
Group Cat: A,
Map Ref: NT 1187 7669.
1623. Substantial, symmetrical, ornate, square, Renaissance, 12-spout, drinking-style fountain, capped by sundial on octagonal pedestal, approached by flying-arched stair. Carved ashlar sandstone.
Low-relief strapwork carving, with projecting masks at intervals; lead water spouts in mouths of masks; corbelled water troughs below. Latin inscriptions in carved cartouches and between pilasters. Central section of cornice to each elevation projected on carved consoles, except to W, where stair joins. Consoles decorated with male and female heads, cherubs bearing floral wreaths, and cipher of Sir Walter Dundas; angle compartments decorated with Dundas family emblems, including lion's head emerging from thicket, lion gules, salamander amongst flames and shield of Sir Walter Dundas quartered with that of wife. Winged termini to sundial pedestal.
Scheduled Monument. A Group with Dundas Castle, including Blue Acre, Boat House, Brown Acre, Castleloch, Castle Grove, Dovecot, Dundas Castle Keep, Dundas Loch Bridge, Dundas Mains, Ice House, Lilac Cottage, North Lodge, Rose Cottage, South Lodge and Walled Garden (see separate listings).
The fountain, built for Sir Walter Dundas, 18th Laird, originally formed the centrepiece to an enclosed parterre, with banqueting houses at its four corners. A drawing of Dundas Castle by David Allan (1793), shows the original position of the sundial, to the N of the old castle.
There are 2 cartouches on the friezes of all 4 elevations, with Latin inscriptions, translated as reading ?See, read, think and attend. Through rocks and crags by pipes we lead these streams, That the parched garden may be moistened by the spring water. Forebear to do harm therefore to the fountain and garden which thou see?st. Nor yet should?st thou incline to injure the signs of the dial. View and with grateful eyes enjoy these hours and the garden, And to the flowers may eager thirst be allayed by the fountain. In the year of human Salvation 1623?. Further inscriptions reveal that Sir Walter built the sundial ?as a future memorial of his posterity, as also an amusing recreation for friends, guests and visitors, this fountain in the form of a castle?. The masks are to warn against thieves, as well as to please spectators, and the inscription refers to them with the words 'With ordinary things to content us here, is to be even with others - we envy not their better things'.
The quality of the detailing on the top cornice suggests that it may be of a later date.
McGibbon and Ross, THE CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND. VOL. I (1887-92/The Mercat Press, 1971), pp328-335; INVENTORY FOR MIDLOTHIAN AND WEST LOTHIAN (The Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland, 1929), pp205, 206; McWilliam, LOTHIAN, EXCEPT EDINBURGH (1978), p191.
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