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The Character Statues

Oliver Cromwell

Found on the south facade of the Scott Monument, opposite Balfour of Burley, beside the Museum Room window.

Oliver Cromwell (from the novel 'Woodstock', 1826), is depicted in tunic and trews, with a broad belt across his chest, left hand resting on his sword and a book in the other.

Cromwell plays a major role in the novel, and Scott was careful to draw his character as fully as possible.

"His demeanour was so blunt as sometimes might be termed clownish, yet there was in his language and manner a force and energy corresponding to his character, which impressed awe, if it did not impose respect…Something there was in his disposition congenial to that of his countrymen; a contempt of folly, a hatred of affectation, and a dislike of ceremony, which, joined to the strong intrinsic qualities of sense and courage, made him in many respects not an unfit representative of the democracy of England."

Faced with the portrait of the executed Charles I, he seems to struggle with his conscience under the reproaches of "that cold, calm face - that proud yet complaining eye". But he wavers only for a moment: "Not wealth nor power brought me from my obscurity. The oppressed consciences - the injured liberties of England - were the banner that I followed."

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 (Royal Scottish Academy) 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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