Happy 163rd Birthday RLS!
Twitter alerted me that it was the great Robert Louis Stevenson’s birthday today. I thought I’d try to mark the date during my lunch hour and remembered something about a statue being unveiled last month.
Until recently, there was no statue of RLS in Edinburgh and to correct that (although there is a lovely bronze plaque in St Giles Cathedral and a fine interpretation of Breck and Balfour by Sandy Stoddart on Corstorphine Road) Colinton Residents Committee commissioned this really rather good statue that represents RLS as a young lad of ten years old. His grandfather was minister of Colinton Parish Church and RLS visited the village regularly in his youth. (It’s a very beautiful church and the graveyard is very atmospheric - beautifully located on the banks of the Water of Leith; well worth a visit. Here’s a couple of shots I took inside the grounds.)
The statue includes a nice passage from RLS’s essay collection, Memories and Portraits:
“All through my boyhood and youth, I was known and pointed out for the pattern of an idler; and yet I was always busy on my own private end, which was to learn to write. I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.”
The author of Treasure Island, Stevenson is arguably the world's best loved and widest known writer and his work continues to resonate. If you have never read Kidnapped then I urge you to do so: you’re in for a treat!