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The Character Statues

Lady of Avenel

Found on the east facade of the Scott Monument.

Lady of Avenel (from the two novels 'The Monastery', 1820, and 'The Abbot', 1820) is shown as a thoughtful character in a very simple toga-like flowing robe. She is holding a book with both hands.

Mary Avenel is the orphan daughter of a noble house, who is brought to live under the roof of the Glendinning family. In The Monastery her hand is won by Halbert Glendinning, who thus becomes the Knight of Avenel.

She is "by nature mild, pensive, and contemplative", and extremely virtuous. A ghostly spirit, The White Lady of Avenel, guides her to the sacred "thick black volume with silver clasps" which gives her comfort when she supposes Halbert to be dead.

In the novel 'The Abbot', Halbert is often away from home, leaving her to lead a life "almost entirely secluded from the world, within the walls of her paternal mansion". Her childless, lonely and desolate existence is relieved by the presence of her page Roland Graeme, who later turns out to be her nephew and the heir to Avenel.

About the Sculptor

Thomas Stuart Burnett (1851 to 1888)

T.S. Burnett was born Edinburgh. He was the son of a lithographic printer who studied under William Brodie and at the School of the Board of Trustees (of the Royal Scottish Academy) where he won the Gold Medal in 1875.

In 1876 he entered the RSA Life School, won a share of the Stuart prize in 1880 and was elected ARSA (Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy) in 1883. He died in Edinburgh in 1888.

He was also responsible for a bronze bas-relief depicting the Life of the Duke of Buccleuch for his monument in Parliament Square, and a memorial to Robert Bryson at Warriston Cemetery. His statues of Rob Roy and General Gordon can be found at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

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