STONES & MORTAR

In the 19th century a Captain Reid left a bequest to the City of Edinburgh for the erection of a monument to the two heroes of Scottish independence, Sir William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce. The decision was taken that two statues would be commissioned which would stand in niches set into the walls of Edinburgh Castle. This was a controversial decision which Carrick himself was not happy with as he, like others, felt that the walls of a fortification was not the place for decoration. A competition was held for the designs and the rules stipulated that the sculptors would choose their own architect for the design of the niche. Carrick once again chose to collaborate with Glasgow architect James B. Dunn who had worked with him on earlier projects including Killin war memorial. Dunn produced a design which was as simple and unobtrusive as possible, in keeping with the fortress wall. By contrast the sculptor T.J. Clapperton worked with architect Sir Robert Lorimer who produced a highly ornamental gothic niche. In the end a compromise decision was made and Carrick's design was chosen for Wallace, while Clapperton's entry for Bruce, and Lorimer's design for the niche were also awarded the commission.
This was not the end of the controversy as the newspapers of 1928 carried numerous letters attacking Carrick's design, particularly his portrayal of Wallace with a long, two handed sword, as being historically innacurate. The Bulletin however reserved its most scathing criticism for Clapperton and Lorimer, describing their work as ' a pretty-pretty statuette in a pretty-pretty niche'. In 1929 the monuments, after considerable revision of the original designs, were finally unveiled.
The attacks on Carrick continued in the newspapers for producing a figure which was out of proportion, its head supposedly too small and its shoulders too square. I think that what Carrick was actually doing here was subtly adjusting the proportion of the figure to that of the stones in the wall itself, this is particularly noticable when you compare the head and line of the shoulders with that of the stonework behind. Carrick's solution to the problem of placing a statue on a fortress wall was to integrate Wallace and Wall together into a greater whole. The 8 foot high figure of the barrel chested hero is, quite literally, 'built like a brick' and seems an integral part of the wall itself.

_DSC0042

You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.


Get Flash Player