Art in the Botanics
Permanent and semi-permanent sculptures and installations combine with events and exhibitions to illuminate our core work for visitors.
At the Edinburgh Garden, look out for one of the earliest and most prominently sited acquisitions of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art at RBGE.
Reg Butler’s cast bronze sculpture Girl (1957–8) was a memorable feature of the pond outside Inverleith House – the Gallery of Modern Art’s founding home - from 1960 to 1984. Purchased in 1962, the sculpture was returned to its original location adjoining Inverleith House and the surrounding Garden in the early 21st century.
Ascending Form (Gloria)
Rock Form (Porthcurno)
Two bronze sculptures by the sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth can also be found thanks a reciprocal arrangement with the National Galleries of Scotland.
Made to accompany the award-winning exhibition of the same name held at Inverleith House during the 1995 Edinburgh Festival, this sculpture by the Scottish artist Alan Johnston (b.1945) related directly to two major philosophical figures; Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) and David Hume (1711-1776).
Materials: beeswax, charcoal and varnish on stone
It was commissioned by Lady Bute as a memorial to her husband John, Sixth Marquess of Bute. Crafted by Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley, it was installed in 2006. John had strong ties to RBGE and on the Board of the Younger (Benmore) Trust for over 26 years. His garden at Mount Stuart was also established as the first ‘network’ garden as part of the International Conifer Conservation programme – the RBGE-based initiative to establish a ‘seed bank’ for threatened conifer species.
Casting the shadow of the sun, "Umbra Solis", the Sundial by Ian Hamilton Finlay is testament to a long and respectful relationship between the Garden and the artist until his death in 2006.
Created from Cumbrian slate, Slate, Hole, Wall was conceived by sculptor, photographer and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy who worked on the 1990 piece with waller Joe Smith. Ballachulish slate was used for Cone, a second sculpture created for the Garden in 1990.
Crafted from steel in the heat of a forge, Hammered Steel, Reflected Glory is a set of gates at the top of the east drive best appreciated when the early morning sun is reflecting off the bright steel from which they were skillfully crafted. Look at the detail in the leaf and admire the leaf trusses with flower bud. From the workshop of blacksmith Alan Dawson, and designed by architect Benjamin Tindall, it was commissioned by the Friends of the Garden and installed in 1996.
Last but by no means least, the dignified Linnaeus Monument was designed by the great Robert Adam and crafted, in 1779, in Craigleith Sandstone with a marble plaque. It was a year after the death of Linneaus, the " Father of Taxonomy" when Regius Keeper of the Scottish Enlightenment John Hope had it commissioned, at his own expense, as a lasting testament to his regard for Linnaeus. It originally stood in the garden at Leith Walk, RBGE's third site, after St Anne's Yards, at Holyrood, and Trinity Hospital on the Nor' Loch, now the site of Platform 11 at Waverley Station.
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