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The Character Statues


Found on the south facade of the Scott Monument.

Gurth (from the novel 'Ivanhoe', 1819) is shown as a rather wild, ferocious looking character, dressed in sheepskin and holding a stave. A small dog sits at his feet.

A swineherd and serf of Cedric of Rotherwood, Gurth wears "a brass ring, resembling a dog's collar…soldered fast round his neck", the mark of his bondage. His aspect is generally "bent on the ground with an air of deep dejection, which might almost be construed as apathy, had not the fire which occasionally sparkled in his red eye manifested that there slumbered, under the impression of sullen despondency, a sense of oppression and a disposition to resistance."

With his faithful cur Fangs, Gurth abandons his duties to act as "squire-at-arms" to Cedric's disinherited son Ivanhoe. For his part in the assault on the Norman castle in which Cedric is held captive, his master grants him his freedom.

"Gurth sprung upon his feet. and twice bounded aloft to almost his own height from the ground. 'A smith and a file,' he cried, 'to do away with the collar from the neck of a freeman! There is a free spirit in my breast; I am a man changed to myself and all around.'"

About the Sculptor

William Shirreffs (1864 to 1902)

Shirreffs was born in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, a relative of Charles G. Shirreffs. In 1870 he moved to Glasgow to study sculpture at the Glasgow School of Art under William Mossman Junior.

He was the winner of the Queen’s Prize in 1871, and went on to establish a foundry where he cast the bronze reliefs for the Sir William Chambers monument pedestal in 1891.

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