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The Character Statues

John Knox

Found on the north facade of the Scott Monument, opposite Charles I, beside the Museum Room window.

John Knox is depicted with a beard and is wearing long robes and pointing to a text in the open Bible.

The Protestant Reformer John Knox (c. 1514 to 1572) is one of three historical figures (cf. Charles I and George Buchanan) represented in the Scott Monument who do not appear as characters in any of the novels or poems.

The presence of Knox is felt, however, in the novels, 'The Monastery' and 'The Abbot', and his historical influence in 'Old Mortality', and he is mentioned in other works. In 'Tales of a Grandfather', Scott describes him as "a man of great courage, zeal, and talents…whose eloquence gave him great influence with the people".

Scott quotes Knox as justifying the iconoclastic destruction of the monasteries with the words, "The true way to banish the rooks is to pull down their nests, and the rooks will fly off."

About the Sculptor

John Rhind (1828 to 1892)

Born in Banff, John Rhind was the son of a master stonemason and descended from a line of stonemasons since the early 18th century.

He studied sculpture in the studio of Alexander ‘Handyside’ Ritchie, and his son, William Birnie Rhind also became a sculptor and created statues for the Monument. Rhind was elected ARSA (Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy) in 1892, but died before signing the membership roll.

His portrait busts include ‘William Gladstone’ 1886 for the Scottish Liberal Club, ‘Victoria and Albert’, ‘Darwin’, ‘Michaelangelo’ and ‘Newton’ all 1859 which can all be found in the Royal Scottish Museum. He executed a fine statue of William Chambers (1890) in bronze in Chambers Street and one of Dick (1883) at the Royal Veterinary College.

Rhind also has other statues in the National Gallery of Scotland, Scottish National Portrait Gallery and St Giles Cathedral.

His statues on the Scott Monument are Ivanhoe, John Knox, Rob Roy, Lucy Ashton, Ravenswood, Dugald Dalgetty, George Buchanan and Richie Moniplies.

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