Archives » Edinburgh

Commonwealth War Graves, Comely Bank Cemetery, Edinburgh

With the exception of Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery on Hoy, Comely Bank Cemetery in Edinburgh may possibly contain the most Commonwealth War Graves in one location anywhere in Scotland. 301 servicemen are buried here, from both wars. Its location near a hospital (or two) no doubt contributed to that.

Unusually the memorial stones in the Great War section are laid flat:-

Comely Bank Cemetery, Edinburgh, War Graves

Flat memorial stones. The Stone of Remembrance is to the left here behind the shrubs:-

Flat Memorial Stones, Comely Bank Cemetery, Edinburgh

More flat memorial stones:-

More Flat Memorial Stones, Comely Bank Cemetery, Edinburgh

Comely Bank Cemetery, Edinburgh, More Flat Memorial Stones

Memorial Stones, Comely Bank Cemetery, Edinburgh

All these flat stones commemorate more than one serviceman:-

Comely Bank Cemetery, Edinburgh, Memorial Stones

Stone of Remembrance. It is inscribed, “1914-1918 1939-1945. To the honoured memory of his Majesty’s forces who gave their lives for their country and who lie buried in this cemetery. The following are not commemorated elsewhere. Private R Brines, Middlesex Regiment. 19/1 1920, Private A Brown, Highland Light Infantry, 9/1/1920, Private Jackson Robb, Royal Scots, 30/8/1921.”

Stone of Remembrance, Comely Bank Cemetery, Edinburgh

Information board:-

Commonweath War Graves Commission Information Board

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 23: George Street

Funny I hadn’t really noticed this one before.

On corner of George Street and North Castle Street, Edinburgh.

Former Royal Bank of Scotland premises. Good detailing round the door:-

Building, George Street, Edinburgh

Its windows and railings, on North Castle Street:-

Windows and Railings, North Castle Street, Edinburgh

Poppy Time Again

Two days ago (Wednesday) I was in the Sainsbury’s at Straiton in Edinburgh. I happened to notice that the shop assistants’ name badges had poppies engraved on them.

It was October 10th! Over a month till Remembrance Day.

(Okay; same time interval as last year.)

Last night a woman in the Question Time audience was sporting a largish cloth poppy. First TV sighting of the year. At least I can be sure she wasn’t corralled into wearing it.

Art Deco Railway Station Model

As seen at Ingliston Antique Fair, Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh, September 2017.

Model of Art Deco Railway Station

“Ground” level view:-

Art Deco Model, Railway Station

“Platform side” view:-

Art Deco Railway Station Model

Raqib Shaw: Reinventing the Old Masters

Also at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s Modern One (until 28th October) is the above titled exhibition featuring the work of Raqib Shaw.

Apparently he could not afford oil paints so started to use enamels. This gives his work the appearance of huge but intricately decorated ceramic tiles. Some of it is a bit “bling”y for me but the effect can be stunning and the detail is extraordinary particularly in the circular area of his reinvention of the Cranach. The reproductions here do not convey just how shiny his pictures are.

To do this must be so time consuming even if he does have assistants to help. I left wondering how on earth he could make a living doing this. Unless every (enamel? can you really call them paintings?) sells for tens of thousands of pounds.

Shaw speaks for himself here:-

NOW at Modern One

Meanwhile over Edinburgh’s Belford Road from Modern Two; at the Modern One gallery of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is an exhibition called NOW which mainly features Jenny Saville. It’s on until 12th September.

Most of her paintings are larger-than-life-size portraits – or at least feature human figures.

Some of them verge on – or overstep the boundary of – grotesque:-

This one of what looks like a child is less so:-

The introductory video from the gallery website is below. The eyes of the child in the painting over the artist’s left shoulder are very well done.

Royal Scots Greys Memorial, Princes Street, Edinburgh

This memorial stands above Princes Street Gardens, to the south side of Princes Street, Edinburgh, and was originally erected to commemorate the men of the Royal Scots Greys who died in the Boer War, 1899-1902.

Royal Scots Greys Memorial Princes Street, Edinburgh

Dedication plaques facing Princes Street. The top one is the commemmoration of the dead of the Boer War (the Second Boer War, aka the South African War.) The lower plaque is to the Scots Greys fallen of the Second World War.

Dedication Plaques, Royal Scots Greys Memorial, Edinburgh

There are further dedication plaques on the western and eastern faces of the monument. The upper plaque here names privates of the Royal Scots Greys who died in the Great War. The lower states, “This memorial was erected in 1906 in memory of the Royal Scots Greys who gave thier lives in South Africa during the Boer War 1899 -1902. Tablets were added after the First World War 1914 to 1918 and after the Second World War 1939 to 1945. In 1971 the Royal Scots Greys amalgamated with the 3rd Carabiniers to form the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys.)”

Royal Scots Greys Memorial, Dedication Plaques

Here the upper plaque names officers, NCOs and men who died in the Great War. The lower plaque commemorates the dead of conficts since 1945; in Korea, Northern Ireland and Iraq.

Further Dedication Plaques, Royal Scots Greys Memorial, Edinburgh

American War Memorial, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

This is situated in the west end of Princes Street Gardens.

From west:-

American War Memorial, Princes Street Gardens, Reverse View

The wording below the frieze reads, “If it be life that waits I shall live forever unconquered if death I shall die at last strong in my pride and freedom.”

From east:-

American War Memorial, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

Central figure. The inscription on the plinth reads, “The Call 1914. A Tribute. From Men and Women of Scottish Blood and Sympathies In the United States of AMERICA to SCOTLAND.”
“A People that jeoparded their lives unto the Death in the High Places of the Field.” Judges V 18:-

Statue, American War Memorial, Princes Street Gardens

Information plaque; situated to the east side of the memorial as a whole:-

Plaque Beside American War Memorial, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 4. Princes Street Gardens: Addendum

In June 2017 we actually had a wander through a part of Princes Street Gardens where we hadn’t ventured before – or at least I can’t remember doing so.

I saw this delightful lamp standard at the foot of the stairs leading from Princes Street to the gardens.

Art Deco Lamp Standard, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

Rembrandt Exhibition, Edinburgh

The latest exhibition at the National Gallery of Scotland, Princes Street, Edinburgh – Rembrandt: Britain’s Discovery of the Master features quite a lot of paintings by the artist as well as many prints made from his etchings/engravings, along with other artworks by those who were influenced by him.

Of the two perhaps most famous of the paintings featured I found Belshazzar’s Feast to be somewhat overblown. (In the flesh it is a bit brighter than it seems here.) :-

Rembrandt: Belshazzar's Feast

The Mill is more restrained but an imagined Dutch scene I’d have thought. That promontory is just a bit too high, though the picture seems to have inspired many other artists.

Rembrandt: The Mill

His portraits, though, are stunning. Among those whose representations I could find on the net – these may disappear after the exhibition ends – are:-

An Old Woman Reading – originally thought to be a portrait of the artist’s mother:-

Rembrandt: An Old Woman Reading

and Girl at a Window which is said on the caption to be so lifelike that passers-by at Rembrandt’s studio would speak to its subject. (That seems a bit unlikely, why would the painting be near or in a window?)

Rembrandt: Girl at a Window

Two pictures in the exhibition capture light very well. Rembrandt’s own Landscape with the Rest at the Flight into Egypt:-

Rembrandt: Rest at the Flight into Egypt

(The English artist Joshua Reynolds is on record as complaining that Rembrandt painted light rather than the objects which it reflects from. Each to his own.)

The Holy Family by Night – thought now to be school of Rembrandt rather than by the artist himself:-

The Holy Family by Night

An example of his etching is The Three Crosses (more properly Christ Crucified Between the Two Thieves):-

Rembrandt: The Three Crosses

I must confess I preferred his etchings of rural scenes such as The Three Trees to the religious ones as in Christ Presented to the People.

He was the first (or among the first) artist(s) to recognise the commercial possibilities of the limited edition, altering plates to make variorum prints. The popular title given to the one below reflects the price it is said to have achieved.

The Hundred Guilder Print:-

Rembrandt: The Hundred Guilder Print

One of the most interesting exhibits, in a glass case in one of the rooms, was an actual etched copper plate set alongside a print made from it.

An introductory video to the exhibition can be found at

free hit counter script