Skip navigation. The Scott Monument  

Home page Sir Walter Scott About the Monument Visitor Experience Timeline

<<back to the character list

The Character Statues

Madge Wildfire

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 baby.

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.

^ back to the top


previous statue Griffen link to previous statueGriffen link to next statue next statue


Home | Sir Walter Scott | The Monument | Visitor Experience | Timeline | Site Map | Acknowledgements