Sir Walter Scott statue in Central Park


This larger-than-life-sized bronze portrait of Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) which was crafted by Sir John Steell (1804-1891) was dedicated on the "Literary Walk" in Central Park in 1872. Steell's effigy of Scott in Central Park eliminates the Gothic stone canopy - which critics have likened to "a spire without a cathedral" - of the original on Princes Street in Edinburgh. Scott is depicted seated on a rock, in a flowing cloak with workingman's shoes, book and pen in hand. Beside him sits his faithful hound. The completed statue was formally unveiled here on November 2, 1872, where it joined the sculpture of William Shakespeare, installed earlier that year. A legion of Highlanders from the 79th Regiment, the National Guard and the Caledonian Club were part of the festivities. Among the speakers was poet, editor, and civic leader William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), who commented, "and now as the statue of Scott is set up in this beautiful park, which a few years since, possessed no human associations, historical or poetic, connected with its shades, its lawns, its rocks and waters, these grounds become peopled with new memories." In 1936 Parks's monuments crew repaired the base and repatined the bronze. In 1993, both the pedestal and sculpture were again conserved through the Adopt-A-Monument Program, a joint venture of the Municipal Art Society, Parks, and the New York City Art Commission. The restoration was funded by the Saint Andrew's Society, which has also established a fund for ongoing care.

Installed, 1871