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The Character Statues

Balfour of Burley

Found on the west facade of the Scott Monument, opposite Oliver Cromwell, beside the Museum Room window.

Balfour of Burley (from the novel 'Old Mortality', 1816), is rather sternly shown in frockcoat with cummerbund, a belt with a large square buckle across his shoulder and high boots. He is holding papers in his right hand, and his sword by the hilt with his left.

Balfour of Burley was one of the Covenanters involved in the assassination of Archbishop James Sharp in 1679.

By the descriptions issued for his arrest, Balfour is "very stout and square made, double-chested, thin in the flanks, hawk-nosed… red-haired, five feet inches in height" and "skellies fearfully with one eye".

After the murder of Sharp this "stern enthusiast" is given shelter by Henry Morton, the novel's hero, on account of Burley's former friendship with his father. Burley, "daring in design, precipitate and violent in execution, and going to the very extremity of the most rigid recusancy", is nevertheless portrayed as being relatively moderate compared to some of the Covenanter fanatics. He attempts to draw Morton into the cause, but Morton is repulsed by his violence, although he admires his courage. A fugitive throughout most of the novel, Burley descends into madness and is eventually killed.

About the Sculptor

William Birnie Rhind (1853 to 1933)

W.B. Rhind was born and died in Edinburgh. He was the son of John Rhind (sculptor of several of the other statues on the Monument, see Ivanhoe) and studied under him before enrolling at the Edinburgh School of Design under Hodder. He spent five years at the RSA (Royal Scottish Academy) Life School.

He carved portraits, decorative and memorial groups as well as busts and figures.

He was elected ARSA (Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy) in 1893, and RSA in 1905.

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