Found on the north facade of the Scott Monument.
Madge Wildfire (from the novel 'The Heart of Midlothian', 1818)
is shown in a simple jacket and skirt, with a loosely tied wrap
around her waist. She holds onto her Highland bonnet which covers
her wild, curly hair.
Madge is the daughter of Meg Murdockson, the "bluidy-fingered
thief and murderess" who secretly disposes of Effie Deans's
Madge is described by Scott as:
"a tall, strapping wench of eighteen or twenty, dressed
fantastically, in a sort of blue riding-jacket, with tarnished lace,
her hair clubbed like that of a man, a Highland bonnet, and a bunch
of broken feathers, a riding-skirt (or petticoat) of scarlet camlet,
embroidered with tarnished flowers."
Once beautiful but "very giddy", Madge's mind has been
"totally alienated" by mistreatment at the hands of others.
Fundamentally good-hearted if not always well-behaved, she befriends
Jeanie Deans, but is attacked by a lynch-mob in Cumbria and dies
in hospital at Carlisle. The last of many snatches of songs she
sings during the novel is the exquisite 'Proud Maisie'.
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
1851, 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 MacGregor, 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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