17 June 2005
The Scott Memorial, Edinburgh
Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) towered over the Scottish literary scene of the early 19th century and upon his death the people of Edinburgh decided the city needed a memorial to him. A design competition was held, although the winning design by George Meikle Kemp, a joiner who was also a draughtsman, was not chosen until 1838. Work began in 1840 but Kemp died in 1844, having drowned in the Union canal, and did not see the work completed.
The last stone of the 200 foot high monument, complete with 64 statuettes of characters from Scotts novels, was laid in the autumn of 1844 by Kemp's son, Thomas. John Steell, later Her Majesty's Sculptor for Scotland, was chosen (also by public competition) as the sculptor of the over twice life size Carrara marble figure of Scott and his dog Maida. The monument was finally inaugurated on 15 August 1846.
W.F. Evans of Handsworth (near Birmingham in the West Midlands) produced his first Scott Memorial skeleton clock for the 1851 Great Exhibition and this was later presented to the Postmaster of Handsworth. It is now in the Birmingham City Museum.
A Victorian brass Scott Monument striking skeleton clock
Late 19th Century
With ormolu figures, on ebonised plinth and under glass dome (cracked), the silvered chapter ring with engraved numerals, the eight day twin chain fusee movement with anchor escapement, strike/trip repeat on gong, wheels with four crossings; steel rod pendulum with brass cylindrical bob, winding key
23½ in. (60 cm.) high, 23½ in. (61cm.) high over dome
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Derek Roberts, British Skeleton Clocks, Schiffer, 1987, pp.61-63, figs-20 and p.142, figs-57b.
F.B. Royer-Collard, Skeleton Clocks, NAG Press, London, 1969, pp.38-40, figs.3-1,-3,-4,-5.
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