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- Category: A
- Date Added: 19/04/1966
- Local Authority: Edinburgh
- Planning Authority: Edinburgh
- Burgh: Edinburgh
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 26519 74008
- Coordinates: 326519, 674008
Thomas Hamilton, 1830. Outstanding Greek Revival circular, fluted Corinthian peripteral temple with 2-stage cylindrical cella and recessed attic storey, surmounted on square-plan ground-storey plinth with corner pedestals. Central carved finial with 3 supporting griffons. Ashlar sandstone, shallow channelled to ground. Base course, modillioned cornice with antefixae and lion heads to temple. Attic storey with wreath reliefs, dentilled cornice and antefixae.
Rectangular window openings to 1st stage of cella, now mostly blocked (2007) with lyre reliefs above. Steps to moulded door surround with cornice to S with 3-panel timber entrance door. N elevation with inscription '1759 ROBERT BURNS 1796'.
INTERIOR: (seen 2007). Internal ring of Doric columns. Round-arched niche to N wall. Tesserae tiled floor.
BOUNDARY WALL AND RAILINGS: semi-circular rubble wall to S. Cast-iron spearheaded railings to N, W and E with curved iron supports and gate to N.
Statement of Special Interest
The Burns Monument is an excellent example of Greek Revival architecture, built by the renowned architect Thomas Hamilton. It is situated on a prominent position on the slopes of Regent Road and overlooks the city to the South. Based on a version of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, it is a well-proportioned and exceptionally well-detailed structure with finely carved features.
The idea of erecting a monument to Burns was first proposed by Mr John Forbes Mitchell at Bombay in 1812, but was not taken seriously in Britain until 1819. In 1824 a statue of Burns was commissioned and John Flaxman produced a life size statue in marble (now housed at the National Portrait Gallery). This building was designed to house the statue, as the statue only used half the amount of funds raised. Hamilton was appointed as architect as he had already designed the Burns Monument at Alloway (see separate listing) and he did not charge for the design. The foundation stone of the monument was laid on 1831 and was handed over to the City of Edinburgh in 1839.
The Greek Revival Movement was especially fashionable in 1820s and 30s Britain and Edinburgh was at the forefront of this revival. Thomas Hamilton (1784-1858) was one of its leading architects. The movement reached its zenith in Edinburgh with buildings such as Hamilton's Royal High School and Playfair's Surgeon's Hall (see separate listings).
The Choregic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens was built in 334 B.C. to commemorate a win in a choral festival. One of the first Greek monuments to be built according to the Corinthian Order, it became an icon in the Greek Revival Movement and it was used as a template for other Greek Revival buildings, but most particularly in monuments, as here and at the Burns Monument in Alloway.
References from previous list description: APSD; Monumental Classic Architecture in Great Britain ( Richardson) p 72.
List description revised as part of Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey 2007-08.
1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1849-53). E J MacRae, The Heritage of Greater Edinburgh, 1947 p41. John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1984 p435. H Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 1995. Leaflet and other information courtesy of Edinburgh City Council.
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