Burns Monument, Regent Road - Circular Neo Greek temple with Corinthian peristyle and lyre reliefs on cella walls. Built of Ravelston sandstone. 'A' Listed
The idea of a Burns Monument was first proposed by Mr J. Forbes Mitchell, at Bombay in 1812. A subscription was raised by expatriates, but the idea was not seriously taken up at home until 1819, when at a meeting at the Free Mason's Tavern in London, noblemen and gentlemen - admirers of the Bard formed a committee under the chairmanship of the Duke of Atholl. A scheme to erect a statue to the Bard in Edinburgh was proposed, and in July 1824, John Flaxman R.A. was commissioned to produce a life-size statue in marble. After Flaxman died in 1826 the statue was completed by his brother-in-law, Mr Denholm. The statue used only half of the funds raised and it was decided to build a monumental structure to house the statue. Thomas Hamilton, the architect was appointed as he had already designed the Burns Monument at Alloway in 1820 and the nearby Royal High School, Edinburgh. He did not charge for the design work, nor was the interior decoration and surrounding planting charged for. The painting was done by Mr Robert Buchan, house painter, and the garden around the monument planted with laurels, hollies and Ayrshire roses by Mr Eagle Henderson, Nurseryman, both of Edinburgh.
The general design of the Monument is of a Grecian periphera templel with an interior circle of pillars, the cupola is copied from the Lysicrates Temple of Athens. Adorning the roof are three large griffins supporting a tripod, and round the exterior wall are twelve pillars, rarved reliefs of twelve lyres, and (originally) twelve lions heads. The internal circular chamber has a diameter of 20 feet (c.6.1m), with (originally) tinted glass windows with a painted scallop shell. The floor has encaustic tiles with a floral motif. Carved on the stonework is the inscription, ROBERT BURNS 1759 - 1796.
The foundation stone of the monument was laid on the 8th of September 1831, and looked after by the Subscribers Committee until 1839, when it was handed over to the city. At this time it was suggested the statue should be moved due to soot from the gasworks below was affecting the marble (see next record).