Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

New sculpture erected above Scottish National Portrait Gallery entrance

Image caption The sculpture is cast in aluminium and is almost two metres tall

A new sculpture has been erected above the entrance to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

Made by Alexander Stoddart, it represents Clio - who is the muse of History in Greek mythology.

In 2008 Mr Stoddart was made Sculptor in Ordinary to The Queen in Scotland.

The sculpture replaces the original figure of History by the sculptor William Birnie Rhind, which weathered beyond repair and was later removed.

Mr Stoddart's new figure is cast in aluminium, stands almost two metres tall and weighs 85kg.

An exhibition, Alexander Stoddart: Making History is at the Queens Street gallery from Saturday until 28 September 2014.

The exhibition shows the technical process to create History through the artist's drawings and photographs from his studio at the University of the West of Scotland and at the Black Isle Bronze foundry in Nairn where the sculpture was cast.

Mr Stoddart has sculptures of David Hume and Adam Smith on The Royal Mile and the physicist James Clerk Maxwell on George Street.

Christopher Baker, director of Scottish National Portrait Gallery, said: "This wonderful new sculpture is sited serenely above the facade of the gallery, both making a statement and being entirely sympathetic to its context, one of Scotland's greatest 19th Century buildings.

Victorian period

"It is the first enrichment of this sort which has been installed on the gallery since the Victorian period.

"The related exhibition will illustrate in a compelling manner the extraordinary commitment that Alexander Stoddart made to this high-profile commission."

Image caption Alexander Stoddart lives and works in Scotland

Mr Stoddart, said: "This tremendous commission, to complete the sculpture scheme of the Portrait Gallery, gave me the opportunity to pay homage to some of the great late 19th Century artists whom I have admired since my earliest days as a sculptor.

"It has been a weighty honour to have been allowed to work in collaboration with these long-dead men, and a pleasure working with the people at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery who are all alive and thriving in one of the greatest National-Romantic buildings in the British Isles.

"I should like to thank them all, and to thank my studio assistants in Paisley, and the foundry-workers in Nairn, who worked so diligently with me to achieve this end; a simple little figure, standing where she ought, with the clouds behind her."

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