Statue of Robert Louis Stevenson as a boy

As a child, Robert Louis Stevenson frequently visited the manse in Colinton, where his maternal grandfather, Dr Lewis Balfour, lived while he was the Minister of the Parish Church. A bronze statue of Robert Louis Stevenson as a boy with his skye terrier "Coolin" was unveiled in the small garden just outside the Colinton Parish Church gate on 26th October 2013. Its size has been chosen to fit in with the surroundings. The designer is Alan Herriot, of Endeavour Art Studios, near Howgate, Penicuik.

Planning permission was attained in July 2011 for the statue along with the poetry plaques and public artwork at the Triangle.

The plans for the statue evolved from the sketch and the photomontage shown below.

Sketch of RLS as a boy,
with dog


Photomontage of one of the early designs to show
the approximate size and location of the statue

Statue completed
and in place

In spring 2013, the statue was progressing well. A clay maquette, the stage before casting, was almost complete. The photo and video clip below are from the beginning of June 2013.

During summer 2013, the statue of Robert Louis Stevenson as a boy, with dog was cast in bronze at Edinburgh's Powderhall Bronze. Before installation, the last process to be done was patination, the final chemical process to darken the bronze down to the more familiar darker colour used for statues.

The the afternoon of Saturday 26th October 2013 was chosen for the unveiling of the statue. We were very pleased when the author Ian Rankin - a fan of the works of Robert Louis Stevenson agreed to do the unveiling.

A few weeks before installation, the foundation was laid and allowed to set. The statue was installed the day before the unveiling and was kept under a tarpaulin overnight. A few hours before the unveiling the tarpaulin was removed and replaced with a large cotton sheet with a silhouette of RLS's face printed on it.

As the statue was a figure of RLS as a child, it was appropriate to involve children from all of the local schools in the unveiling ceremony, and after the formalities, the Colinton Village Events held a Victorian games session for children to take part in.



A close inspection of this view of the statue shows him having two books, one on his knee and the other in his pocket. This is explained in his work Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson.

I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.