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- Category: A
- Date Added: 14/12/1970
- Local Authority: Edinburgh
- Planning Authority: Edinburgh
- Burgh: Edinburgh
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 24288 73624
- Coordinates: 324288, 673624
John Steele, 1857. Pedestrian bronze statue of Robert Viscount Melville to centre of Melville Crescent. Large sandstone ashlar plinth. Stepped to base with cornice to top of pedestal. Further plinth over cornice supporting bronze statue. Figure shown leaning on bronze plinth to left, holding scroll in right hand. Bronze inscription to plinth: Robert Viscount Melville, Born 14th March 1771 Died 10th June 1851.
Statement of Special Interest
The Melville Statue is a striking bronze on a high plinth that is a key termination to various axis through the former Walker Estate plan, and an excellent example of the work of a prominent sculptor, Sir John Steel. It forms an especially strong link with the Gladstone Memorial in Coates Crescent with which it forms a visual axis down Walker Street. The OS survey of 1852 shows an alternate design for the square with a circular garden to the centre.
Sir John Steel (b. 1804), was one of the foremost sculptors of his day, producing numerous works in Edinburgh, the most prominent of which is the statue of Sir Walter Scott for the Scott Monument on Princes Street (see separate listing), and an equestrian statue of Wellington in Glasgow (see separate listing). In 1844 after sculpting a figure of Queen Victoria he was appointed sculptor to her Majesty in Scotland, and was later knighted in 1876 after the unveiling of an equestrian statue of Prince Albert in Charlotte Sqaure.
(List description revised 2009 as part of re-survey.)
Ordnance Survey, Sheet 34 Edinburgh and Environs, (1852); Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan, (1893-94); J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 376; Youngson, The Making of Classical Edinburgh, (1988) p. 216; West End Community Trust, Edinburgh's West End, A Short History, (1984); James Grant, Cassell's Old and New Edinburgh, (c.1880) Volume IV p. 210.
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