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The Character Statues

James VI

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

James VI (from the novel 'The Fortunes of Nigel', 1822), is depicted reading the unexpected petition of George Heriot.

Of the king once called "the wisest fool in Christendom", Scott wrote:

"He was deeply learned, without possessing useful knowledge; sagacious in many individual cases, without having real wisdom… a big and bold assertor of his rights in words, yet one who tamely saw them trampled on in deeds; a lover of negotiations, in which he was always outwitted; and one who feared war, where conquest might have been easy."

Fearful of assassination, he always wears clothes "quilted so full as to be dagger-proof, which gave him the appearance of clumsy and ungainly protuberance".

James speaks broad Scots throughout the novel. Of his aversion to weaponry he says, "There canna be a waur prospective for a lawfu' king, wha wishes to reign in luve, and die in peace and honour, than to have naked swords flashing in his een. I am accounted as brave as maist folks; and yet I profess to ye I could never look on a bare blade without blinking and winking."

To James also are given the final words of the novel: "And, my lords and lieges, let us all to our dinner, for the cock-a-leekie is cooling."

About the Sculptor

David Watson Stevenson (1842 to 1904)

DW Stevenson was born in Ratho, Midlothian on 25 March 1842 and died in Edinburgh on 18 March 1904. He trained at the Trustees School and Life School, later also in Rome then worked under William Brodie for eight years.

While assistant to Sir John Steell, he did statues of ‘Science’, ‘Learning’ and ‘Labour’ for the Scottish National Memorial to the Prince Consort in Charlotte Square. His statue of Robert Burns (1898) is in Bernard Street, Leith. Others include ‘Sir John Steell when sculptor to Her Majesty for Scotland’ (1887) and ‘Napier of Murchiston’ (1898) both now in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Also on the Scott Monument, the figures of Queen Mary, Halbert Glendinning, Charles I, The Fair Maid of Perth, and Montrose.

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