Sir Walter Scott’s statue on the South Inch just off Marshall Place was erected as a token of appreciation for his setting a novel in Perth. The Statue was originally at the foot of the High Street before being moved to its current position in 1877.

Sir Walter made a series of visits to Perth and Perthshire where he derived his inspiration to write the novel “The Fair Maid of Perth”. The story is based on events involving the “Battle of the Clans”. To give the tale an air of authenticity he then nominated particular dwellings as the homes of the principal characters.

There was an old tale in Perth that when Scott’s dog Maida heard the bells of St. Johns strike midnight on Hogmanay, Sir Walter went for a drink at a public house close to the Kirk. The story had two major flaws, one the pub would have been closed, due to the licencing laws at that time and secondly stone dogs are notoriously hard of hearing. Maida went missing in 2016 (when it turned out that she had just gone for repairs) and again in 2020 (presumed to be theft). Police have so far failed to recapture her.

The first photo shows how the statue looks now, the others were taken prior to 2020 when Maida the dog was still in place. The final early photo shows the statue soon after it was placed on the South Inch.

Originally the statue sat at the foot of the High Street beside the River Tay. It was moved to its current position in 1877. The statue honours the celebrated 19th century writer whose novel ‘The Fair Maid of Perth’ has helped to focus international interest in the City. The statue of Sir Walter Scott was sculpted from Kinggoodie stone by the Cochrane Brothers at their premises in Atholl Street, Perth. The statue was not purposely commissioned by the Town Council but bought by them at a bargain price of £35 at a sale of works by the local sculptors who were leaving the city in 1845, financing their emigration to Toronto, Canada. The Cochrane brothers were James, John (1813-1850) and David born in Kinnoull, Perth. Although not the eldest, John apparently took the leading role in establishing the business.

The brothers also sculpted the statue of former Lord Provost of Perth, Thomas Hay Marshall, now standing at the front of the Perth Museum & Art Gallery in George Street.

Early photos and their descriptions courtesy of Roben Antoniewicz.

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