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The Character Statues

The Earl of Leicester

Found on the upper tier of the north-west buttress of the Scott Monument.

The Earl of Leicester (from the novel 'Kenilworth', 1821), is depicted as a gallant in a richly embroidered courtier costume, with a lace ruff and short trews.

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was one of Elizabeth I's court favourites. Scott's novel is based on the tradition of the tragedy of Amy Robsart. Leicester marries her but keeps the marriage a secret for fear of incurring the jealousy of the Queen. His apparently loyal but in reality treacherous comrade Sir Richard Varney is charged with keeping Amy (and the secret) secure. Although Leicester loves Amy, his ambitions at court make him see "nothing but the favour or disgrace which depended on the nod of Elizabeth and the fidelity of Varney".

He is forced into confessing the marriage to the Queen, Varney tricks him into believing that Amy has been unfaithful to him, and in a passion the Earl orders her to be killed. After her death (through an "accident" carefully arranged by Varney) Leicester "retired from court, and for a considerable time abandoned himself to his remorse". At length he was recalled by Elizabeth "and was once more distinguished as a statesman and favourite".

About the Sculptor

William Brodie (1815 to 1881)

William Brodie was born in Banff on 22 January and died in Edinburgh 30 October 1881. He was the son of a shipmaster who moved to Aberdeen with his family. William was apprenticed as a plumber and studied at the Mechanics Institute,where he began casting small figures in lead. He developed onto modelling medallion portraits and in 1847 was encouraged to study at the Trustees School of Design, where he learnt to model on a larger scale. One of his first works was a bust of his patron Lord Jeffrey.

He was elected ARSA (Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy) in 1851, RSA in 1859 and became Secretary of the RSA (Royal Scottish Academy) in 1876.

Other works in bronze include: ‘Greyfriars Bobby’ (1872) near Greyfriars Kirkyard; ‘A Peer and his Lady Doing Homage’ (1875) for the Prince Consort Memorial in Charlotte Square, Sir James Young Simpson (1877) Princes Street West.

Other works in stone are ‘The Genius of Architecture crowning the Theory and Practice of the Art’ and the monument to Dugald Stewart on Calton Hill, a portrait bust of Rev. John Paul in St. Cuthberts church, as well as several on the Scott Monument - Jeanie Deans, The Earl of Leicester, Amy Robsart, Edith of Lorn, Oliver Cromwell, Helen MacGregor,and Madge Wildfire.

‘In portraiture Brodie had a peculiarly happy knack of catching the likeness. Furthermore, it was almost always a pleasing and characteristic likeness elevated without being over idealised.’

- Quote taken from the dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture.

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