/ The Edinburgh Guide
Edinburgh — By Andy Hayes on August 11, 2010 at 1:51 pm
Filed under: featuredarticle, public art

New Neighbours in the Water of Leith

As any regular readers know, I have one and only one favourite place in Edinburgh: The Water of Leith (map).  It’s a tranquil place, without a lot going on – which is probably why I like it.  This summer though sees the Water of Leith a hub of activity, as some new neighbours have moved in…well, sort of.

Welcome 6 Times

The new tenants of the area are called 6 Times, six statues that were cast by British sculptor Antony Gomley.  The statues are life-size casts of Gomley himself, and perhaps in some ways a little too lifelike; there are plenty of details not left to the imagination, and apparently the police have received some calls about persons seen floating motionless out in the river!

The statues are spread out throughout the river’s course along the river, in various states, including one statue all but submerged.  One is on the grounds of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (map), one is down on the pier at Leith Docks (map), looking out at sea, and the others…well, I’ll leave you to wander the path and find them on your own!

The National Galleries of Scotland commissioned the work, and paid £400,000 for the figures, which are made of cast iron and weight a staggering 3/4 of a ton.  It took three years to complete the project.

Local reactions have been mixed.  As I mentioned, some have phoned the police to report a naked man in the river, others didn’t even notice the statues as they strolled along the path, and others decided to give the naked man some decorum, including a straw hat and a pink bikini apparently.

Gormley told the Herald about his work:
“For me, it’s about using the Water of Leith as a living bloodstream…the idea is to use memory and the present experience of a body in space in relation to your memory of one that you might have seen earlier – either a few minutes earlier or a few months earlier.”

Despite some memorial pieces, there really isn’t any public art along the river currently.  The statues do make a nice addition to other sights along the route, such as St. Bernard’s well.

About the Artist

Antony Gormley is an English sculptor born down in England.  His most famous work is the Angel of the North, a massive winged-man structure that sites between the east coast mainline railway and the expressway down near the Scottish-English border in Newcastle.  This is a fairly large sculpture, but the bulk of Gormley’s work is in smaller pieces such as this one.

Quick Update

As of this writing, a storm has damaged and/or submerged many of Gormley’s statues.  The city is looking at repairs, but isn’t clear when these will take place.

Photo by Rankeelaw

Related places:
  1. A
    Water Of Leith Conservation Trust
    24 Lanark Road, Edinburgh EH14 1TQ, United Kingdom
    View Details and Book
  2. B
    Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
    75 Belford Rd, Edinburgh, Britain
    View Details and Book
  3. C
    Leith Docks, Edinburgh EH6
    View Details and Book
Tags: featuredarticle, public art


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