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The Character Statues

The Laird o’ Dumbiedykes

Found on the lower tier of the north-east buttress of the Scott Monument.

The Laird o’ Dumbiedykes (from the novel 'The Heart of Midlothian', 1818) was the eccentric lover of Jeanie Deans and he is shown arguing with her.

Jock Dumbie succeeds his father as laird at the age of fourteen or fifteen, when he is "a tall, gawky, silly-looking boy". The old man offers two excellent pieces of advice: "Dinna let the warld get a grip o' ye, Jock - but keep the gear thegither!" and the more ecologically sound, "Jock, when ye hae naething else to do, ye may be aye sticking in a tree; it will be growing, Jock, when ye're sleeping."

Among his tenants are Davie Deans and his family, and young Dumbiedikes nurtures a fond but chaste admiration for Jeanie Deans, "pertinaciously gazing on her with great stupid greenish eyes" while sitting in her father's cottage with his gold-laced cocked hat and tobacco-pipe. Jeanie rejects his offer of marriage, but the kind-hearted laird gives her money for her journey to London, and eventually he marries the Laird of Lickpelf's daughter: "She sits next us in the kirk, and that's the way I came to think on't."

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 18521, RSA in 1859 and became Secretary of the RSA 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 McGregor, 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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