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Allan Ramsay, the Poet, and Ramsay Garden, Edinburgh


Statue of Allan Ramsay, Poet

Click on photos below to enlarge


  Notes in italics are extracts from Pevsner Architectural Guides,
Edinburgh by John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker (1991), Yale University Press.
 
 
         
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  The poet Allan Ramsay (1686-1758) has a very prominent statue in
Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh with the castle as background.
 
         
Allan Ramsay, Poet               Ramsay Lodge, Edinburgh
         
  The statue by Sir John Steell dates from 1862. Directly behind the statue is the area just below the castle where Ramsay built a house, and where his son Allan Ramsay, the painter, also lived. This was later surrounded by all the other tenement houses seen here. Ramsay's house is the octagonal building in the centre of the picture, later given a pyramidal roof.

Ramsay Garden was designed as a Town-and-Gown hall of residence and block of flats for Professor Patrick Geddes, and faithful to his organic and improvisatory principles. (Sir Patrick Geddes 1854-1932 is regarded as the father of town planning). From W to E (i.e. right to left), the first stage is by S. Henbest Capper, 1892, the second by Sydney Mitchell, 1893 (incorporating Ramsay Lodge, the eccentric self-designed house of the poet Allan Ramsay, c.1740), and the third again by Mitchell, 1894 (incorporating a mid-C18 terrace), all in a mixture of harl and timber, grey slates, red tiles and red sandstone. Scots baronial and English cottage styles are combined to make the most of the steep and commanding site. Mixed sash and casement windows, with glazing of Georgian proportion. ...
In the middle ... is the octagon of Ramsay Lodge, its massive stepped buttresses by Robert W. Billings, top floor and pyramidal roof by Mitchell.
 
         
Ramsay Garden                   
         
  Capper's L-plan W range is the most Scottish: a cluster of gabled towers, the largest laden with a doubly jettied  oriel and clasped by a battlemented stair-turret, the others linked by iron balconies at different levels. (Photographed from the Castle Esplanade)  
         
              
         
  On the E (courtyard) side a dizzy round tower with a circular balcony and a conical roof, the windows vertically linked by heraldic panels. Beside it, a wall covered with 'pigeon-houses'. Then Mitchell takes over with a Scots gable corbelled out from different planes. ... Stair-tower with carved over-doors (cherubs as mason, farmer and blacksmith) giving access to iron balconies like welfare housing. Half-timbered gable overhead. ...  
         
                   
         
  Nos. 1-3 Ramsay Garden are of 1768 with rubble masonry and architraved doors, but overlaid with red sandstone forestairs and fancy ironwork. ... On the N of Nos. 1-3 jettied attics added by Mitchell, the glazing carried right into the apex of each gable. ...  
         
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Portrait of Allan Ramsay, the poet by his son Allan Ramsay, the artist 

Short entry about Allan Ramsay at Rampant Scotland
Longer entry
about Allan Ramsay at Wikipedia

More about Sir Patrick Geddes
More about Sir John Steell and his other statues in Edinburgh and around the world


More of Edinburgh at Astoft


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All photographic images on this website are Copyright the website owner 2001 or later unless otherwise stated. Email contact above. Full size originals (3-6 megapixels)  are available for approved purposes.