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Monday, 20 November 2017


The Great Sphinx of Giza was constructed in the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt during the reign of Khafra, it is the largest monolith statue and monumental sculpture in the world.

The Great Sphinx was so named about 2000 years after its construction. Despite its prominence, very little is known about the statue, though the face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the Pharaoh Khafre; however, there are no inscriptions anywhere describing its construction or original purpose. It is not even known what it was originally called, as no references survive in known Egyptian sources, sphinx being the name of a similar classical Greek creature.

The Great Sphinx of Giza by By MusikAnimal 

The Ancient Olympics were staged in the wooded valley of Olympia in Elis. Here the Greeks erected statues and built temples in a grove dedicated to Zeus, supreme among the gods. The greatest shrine was an ivory and gold statue of Zeus. Created by the sculptor Phidias, it was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Ancient Roman and Greek sculptors colored their statues, and most were painted or "polychromed." Over the course of years, rain washed the colors off the marble. White marble fashion came with Renaissance.

During the Middle Ages, Gothic sculpture represented the agonies and passions of the Christian faith. Romanesque sculptors working on the churches showed a boundless imagination. In particular the tortures of hell inspired some fantastic scenes. So much so that some of the church authorities complained. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, for instance, remarked on this subject "What good are all these horrible monkeys, ferocious lions, and imaginary centaurs? We spend more time looking at these strange creatures than thinking about 'God's law'".

Judas Iscariot hangs himself, assisted by devils. Autun Cathedral. By La case photo de Got 

The Capitoline Museums, the oldest public collection of art in the world, began in 1471 when Pope Sixtus IV donated a group of important ancient sculptures to the people of Rome.

The revival of classical models in the Renaissance produced famous sculptures such as Michelangelo's 13ft high stone carving of King David, which he unveiled in 1504.

Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin took some of the sculptures, now called the Elgin Marbles, from the Parthenon in 1759. They have been on display in the British Museum since 1816.

Artist Edwin Landseer’s four bronze lions have lain at the foot of Nelson’s Column in London's Trafalgar Square since 1867. It took him nine years from receiving the £17,000 commission (worth over £1.7 million today), to installing all four, which are not identical — each has a different face and mane.

The statue by Auguste Rodin that has come to be called "The Thinker" was not meant to be a portrait of a man in thought. It was originally called "The Poet" and depicted Dante.

Le Penseur in the Musée Rodin in Paris

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, United States. Sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, it features 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of former United States presidents (in order from left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., featuring a sculpture of the sixteenth U.S. President Abraham Lincoln by Daniel Chester French, opened in 1922.

Unilever, who own the brand Marmite, spent £15,000 on a sculpture of a Marmite jar in 2010 to honor the product.

"L'Homme au doigt" by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti was auctioned for $141.3m at Christie's in New York City on May 11, 2015, setting the record for most expensive sculpture sold at an auction.

L'Homme au doigt Alberto Giacometti

"Geese in Flight,” which stands along the “Enchanted Highway” between Regent and Gladstone in North Dakota, holds the Guinness World Record as the largest scrap metal sculpture.

Philadelphia has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other American city.


The original creator of The Colossus of Rhodes, master sculptor Chares of Lindos, erected it in the city of Rhodes, on the Greek island of the same name in 280 BC.

Donatello, the greatest of the early Tuscan sculptors, was born in Florence, Italy in c1386. He may be regarded as the founder of modern sculpture, as the first producer since classical times of statues complete and independent in themselves, and not mere adjuncts of their architectural surroundings. Among his works are the marble statues of saints Mark and George for the exterior of Or San Michele; and the tomb of Pope John XXIII in the Baptistery. He died on December 13, 1466.

Donatello By I, Sailko,

When the young Michelangelo announced he was going to be a painter he was beaten by his father. When he later announced his wish to become a sculptor his family were even more outraged as it was generally thought that the heavy manual labor involved rendered sculpture inferior to painting.

When Michelangelo was commissioned by the Pope to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he was unenthusiastic about the project as he thought of himself as a sculptor rather than a painter.

Born in 1541 on the isle of Crete as Domenikos Theotokopoulos, the Italians and Spanish thought it simpler to call the painter and sculptor 'El Greco' (the Greek).

El Greco once made an offer to the Pope to paint over Michelangelo's Last Judgment on the Sistene Chapel ceiling because he was so dismissive of his work.

Portrait of a Man (presumed self-portrait of El Greco), c. 1595–1600

Anne Seymour Damer became Britain’s first professional female sculptor in 1776, after her husband committed suicide leaving considerable debts. She sculpted Lord Nelson among others and was satirized for her male clothing and close relationships with women, including an author called Mary Berry. She died, aged 79, on May 28, 1828 at her London house and was buried in the church at Sundridge, Kent, along with her sculptor's tools and apron and the ashes of her favorite dog.

Vinnie Ream was appoiunted the U.S. government's first and youngest commissioned female sculptor on July 28, 1866.

The French sculptor Auguste Rodin  (November 12, 1840 – November  17, 1917) is best known for creating one of the most recognized of all sculptures The Thinker in 1889. The most renowned European sculptor of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he remains one of the few sculptors widely known outside the visual arts community. Rodin is often considered a sculptural Impressionist, attempting to model of a fleeting moment of ordinary life. He married his lifetime companion, seamstress, Rose Beuret, at the age of 76, and both died within the year.

Rodin in his studio.

Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum who designed the Mount Rushmore presidential sculptures and oversaw the project's execution, studied art in Paris when a youth with Auguste Rodin

The wife of Antarctica explorer Robert Falcon Scott, Kathleen Bruce, was a noted sculptor and a pupil of Rodin.

The face of the Statue of Liberty is based on the mother of its sculptor, Frederic Bartholdi.

Unpacking of the face of the Statue of Liberty,

In the early days of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso revolutionized the art of sculpture when he began creating his constructions fashioned by combining disparate objects and materials into one constructed piece of sculpture. One of  Picasso's most famous sculptures included bicycle parts.

Marcel Duchamp originated the use of the "found object" or readymade with pieces such as Fountain (1917).

Alexander Calder (1898 –  1976) was an American sculptor who invented the mobile, in which the suspended components move spontaneously in response to touch or air currents.

The Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) designed the Nobel Peace Prize medal and the Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo, which contains ‘the weirdest statues in the world’ — including one of a naked man throwing and kicking babies.

The English sculptor Henry Moore (July 30, 1898 – August 31, 1986) was known for producing semiabstract bronze sculptures as public art, which can be found as far afield as London, Jerusalem and Hong Kong. After his death, Moore's total art output was valued at £130 million.

Henry Moore, standing next to his Working Model for Oval with Points. By Allan Warren

German sculptor Walter Lemcke designed the first Olympic torch for the 1936 Berlin games. It began the tradition of taking the Olympic Flame to the host city.

The Wakefield, England-born sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) was described as "probably the most significant woman artist in the history of art to this day." In 1933, Hepworth co-founded the Unit One art movement, which sought to unite Surrealism and abstraction in British art. Her oldest son was killed in an air crash and she cut her second son, one of triplets, out of her will after he sold a sculpture she’d given him.

Thought of as Britain’s first teen idol, rock 'n' roll singer Tommy Steele is also a sculptor and made the Eleanor Rigby statue in Liverpool for a fee of 3d (or half a sixpence, the name of the hit musical he was starring in at the time).

Saturday, 18 November 2017



While unemployed during the depression, architect Alfred Mosher Butts (April 13, 1899 – April 4, 1993) created a board game in 1930 that utilized chance and skill. He called Lexiko.

Alfred Mosher Butts

Butts worked out his letter scores by looking at the frequency with which individual letters appeared in a dictionary, the Saturday Evening Post, the New York Herald Tribune, and The New York Times. His basic cryptographic analysis of the English language and his original tile distribution have remained valid for over 85 years.

Alfred Butts manual  tabulation of  the frequency of letters in words

Eight years later Butts came up with Criss Cross Words, a variation on Lexiko. The new game added the 15×15 gameboard and the crossword-style game play.

The first few sets Butts made he sold to family and friends but he made no money out of it.

The New York Times revealed that Mrs. Nina Butts was better at the game than her inventor husband, once scoring 234 for "quixotic."

The game went unnoticed until 1948 when James Brunot, from Connecticut, who was an entrepreneur and passionate games player, saw commercial possibilities. He bought the rights to the game, made some small changes to the rules and gave Butts a royalty on every set sold.

Brunot also changed its name to Scrabble," a real word meaning "to grope frantically."

Brunot and his family made sets in a converted former schoolhouse in Dodgingtown, a section of Newtown, Connecticut. They made 2,400 in 1949, but sales in the early days were modest, amounting, to a few dozen sets a week

Scrabble's big break came in 1952 when Jack Straus, president of Macy's, played the game on vacation. Upon returning from his holiday, Straus placed a large order.

Unable to meet demand himself, Island-based Selchow and Righter offered Butts three cents a game for the rights to mass produce Scrabble. In its second year as a Selchow and Righter-built product, nearly four million sets were sold.

Selchow and Righter was bought out by Coleco in 1987; After Coleco went bankrupt, Hasbro purchased the company's assets, including Scrabble.


The game is sold in 121 countries and more than 150 million Scrabble games have been sold worldwide.

Scrabble is available in 29 languages including Welsh (released in 2005) and Irish (2009). An unofficial Klingon version also exists.

Roughly one-third of American and half of British homes possess a Scrabble set.

On average, more than eight Scrabble games are started every second worldwide.

There are 19 letter A tiles in Malaysian Scrabble, the most for any letter in any language.

The letter Z is worth only one point in the Polish version of Scrabble.

In the game of Scrabble, 98 tiles have letters on them; two are blank.

Friday, 17 November 2017


Charterhouse public schoolboy Robert Baden-Powell had an interest in the outdoors. His first introduction to Scouting skills was through stalking and cooking game while avoiding teachers in the nearby woods, which were strictly out-of-bounds.

Later, as a military officer, Baden-Powell was stationed in British India in the 1880s where he took an interest in military scouting and in 1884 he published Reconnaissance and Scouting.

Baden-Powell won fame as commander of the garrison during the 217-day siege of Mafeking in the Second South African War (1899–1900). This rise to fame fueled the sales of the small instruction book he had written in 1899 about military scouting and wilderness survival, Aids to Scouting.

Baden-Powell in 1896

On his return to England, Baden-Powell noticed that boys showed considerable interest in Aids to Scouting, which was being used by teachers and youth organizations. He was urged to rewrite this book for boys.

In 1906 and 1907 Baden-Powell wrote Scouting for Boys. He took many ideas from the experiences he made with the Mafeking Cadet Corps a paramilitary group of youths formed during the Mafeking siege. The youngsters supported the troops by carrying messages, which freed the men for military duties and kept the boys occupied.

Cover of first part of Scouting For Boys, January 1908

In the summer of 1907 Robert Baden-Powell held a camp to test ideas for his book. Twenty boys, drawn from Eton and Harrow public schools plus Poole and Bournemouth locals spent the week from August 1 to August 8 camping on Brownsea Island, in Poole Harbor on the south coast of England.

The boys  were organised into patrols (Bulls, Wolves, Curlews and Ravens), wore khaki, used the motto Be Prepared", studied cooking, fire-lighting, wildlife, life-saving and patriotism, and were given tests on knots and tracking. Reveille was at 6am, there was a compulsory siesta and lights out at 9.30pm. The public schoolboys were charged £1, the others 3/6d (17 1/2p).

Scouting for Boys was published in six fortnightly instalments of approximately 70 pages each, from January to March 1908. These six publications were a success and, as planned, were issued in book form on May 1, 1908.

The Brownsea camp and the publication of Scouting for Boys are generally regarded as the start of the Scout movement.

In 1909 Chicago newspaper and magazine publisher William D. Boyce was visiting London, when he found himself lost on a foggy street. He encountered a boy who came to his aid, guiding him to his destination. The boy refused Boyce's tip, explaining that he was a Boy Scout and was merely doing his daily good turn. Boyce's fascination was aroused and he met with staff at the Boy Scouts Headquarters. Upon his return to the US, Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910.

Robert Baden Powell faced with an increasing number of girls wishing to take part in his scouting movement. He decided that girls should have their own separate organization, and the Girl Guides were founded by him and his sister Agnes in the UK in 1910.

During the first half of the 20th century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups for boys (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Rover Scout) and for girls (Brownie Guide, Girl Guide and Girl Scout, Ranger Guide).

First procession of Armenian Scouts in Constantinople in 1918
Worldwide, as of 2010, there are over 32 million registered Scouts and as of 2006 10 million registered Guides, operating in nearly every country.

Indonesia  has the highest amount of scouting participants worldwide with 17,100,000 male and female members.

Wikipedia Commons

In Cuba, there was a Scout organisation, but the Communist government replaced it by the José Martí Pioneer Organization. Also scouting organisations have been banned in the People's Republic of China. They have been replaced by Young Pioneers of China and Communist Youth League of China. Both the Cuban and Chinese  organisations are similar to Scouts, but without the international brotherhood and the peace mission.

Davis Beckham, Keith Richards and Tony Blair were all scouts.

All but one of the astronauts who walked on the Moon had been scouts.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Scottish Terrier

The Scottish terrier was developed in Scotland in the mid-1800s as a vermin catcher and watchdog. It was originally called Aberdeen terrier.

It is thought to descend from the Old Scottish terrier, with a dash of Dandie Dinmont Terrier, and Cairn and West Highland White Terrier thrown in for good measure.

The modern breed is said to be able to trace its lineage back to a single female, named Splinter II, who was the property of a Mr Ludlow and an early winner of dog exhibitions.

Mated to Tartan, Splinter II produced Worry, the dam of four champions. Rambler, her son by Bonaccord, sired the two founding sires of the breed, Dundee (out of Worry) and Alister (out of a Dundee daughter).

In 1881 the "Scottish Terrier Club of England" was founded, being the first club dedicated to the breed. The club secretary, H.J. Ludlow, is responsible for greatly popularizing the breed in the southern parts of Great Britain.

Black is the most traditional color for a Scottie, Wheaten Scotties can also be found.

A scottie puppy. By Flickr user Daniel Petry 

Scotties typically live from 11 to 13 years. Two genetic health concerns seen in the breed are von Willebrand disease (vWD) and craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO). Scottish Terriers also have a greater chance of developing some cancers than other purebreds.

Originally Scottish Terriers were used for hunting, but because of their small size, they are often kept as pets.

Many famous people have owned Scottish Terriers, including Queen Victoria, Rudyard Kipling, Eva Braun, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's most famous canine companion was his Scottish Terrier, Fala, who is part of the Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, DC, the only Presidential dog so honored.

Fala at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (bottom left), Stefan Fussan 

A second older Scottish Terrier called Meggie owned by Eleanor Roosevelt, once bit a senator.

President George W Bush had a black Scottish terrier called Barney during his time in the White House.

The Scottish Terrier is also well known for being a playing piece in the board game Monopoly. This was because when the game was first created in the 1930s, Scotties were one of the most popular pets in the United States.

Source Europress Encyclopedia,

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Walter Scott


Walter Scott was born on August 15, 1771 in a third-floor flat on College Wynd in the Old Town of Edinburgh, a narrow alleyway leading from the Cowgate to the gates of the University of Edinburgh (Old College)

Raeburn's portrait of Sir Walter Scott in 1822

He was the ninth child of Walter Scott, a Writer to the Signet (solicitor), and Anne Rutherford.

Five of Walter's siblings died in infancy, and a sixth died when he was five months of age.

The young Walter Scott survived a childhood bout of polio that would leave him lame in his right leg for the rest of his life.

To cure his lameness Walter was sent in 1773 to live in the rural Scottish Borders at his paternal grandparents' farm at Sandyknowe, where he developed into a high spirited child.

During his time at Sandyknowe, Walter was taught to read by his aunt Jenny, and learned from her the speech patterns and many of the tales and legends that characterized much of his work.

As a child he read voraciously, and during the cold winter months his grandma entertained him with ballads and stories of the Scottish border country.

When he was 6-years-old, Walter was given a small Shetland pony on which he galloped over the countryside.

At the age of 8, Walter returned to his family in Edinburgh and in October 1779 he began at the Royal High School of Edinburgh (in High School Yards). He was a popular schoolboy but wasn’t considered a brilliant student due to his poor grasp of Greek.

After finishing school, Walter was sent to stay for six months with his aunt Jenny in Kelso, attending the local grammar school where he met James and John Ballantyne, who later became his business partners and printed his books.

Walter began studying classics at the University of Edinburgh in November 1783, at the age of 12, a year or so younger than most of his fellow students.

While at the university, Scott met the blind poet Thomas Blacklock, who lent him books and introduced him to James Macpherson's Ossian cycle of poems, which he learned by heart. James Macpherson's Ossian poems were claimed at the time to be translations dating back to the Dark Ages, but were later discredited when this was found to be untrue.


In March 1786, Scott began an apprenticeship in his father's law office to become a Writer to the Signet.

When it was decided that Walter would become a lawyer, he returned to the university at the age of 17 to study law, first taking classes in Moral Philosophy and Universal History in 1789–90. At the age of 20 Scott passed his exams.

After completing his studies in law, he became a lawyer in Edinburgh. Scott spent his happiest days as a young lawyer riding in remote districts of the border country, talking to locals and writing down their old ballads.

As a result of his lameness Scott was unable to join the military during the invasion scare of the 1790s. To compensate he organised his own cavalry troop, the Edinburgh Light Dragoons Dragons. Scott was their enthusiastic quartermaster.

In 1796, Scott's friend James Ballantyne founded a printing press in Kelso, in the Scottish Borders. Through Ballantyne, Scott was able to publish his first works, including Glenfinlas and The Eve of St. John, and his poetry then began to bring him to public attention.

At 28, Scott was appointed sheriff-deputy of Selkirkshire. This post, added to his earnings as a lawyer, gave him a comfortable living. He continued to collect ballads, and in 1802 he published the first two volumes of Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.

copy of Scott's Minstrelsy in the National Museum of Scotland. Kim Traynor 
By the early 1800s Scott had a comfortable living from his earnings at the law, his salary as Sheriff-Deputy, his wife's income, some revenue from his writing, and his share of his father's rather meagre estate.

In 1805, The Lay of the Last Minstrel captured wide public imagination, and Scott's career as a writer was established in spectacular fashion.

In 1809 Scott persuaded James Ballantyne and his brother to move to Edinburgh and to establish their printing press there. He became a partner in their business.

When his printing press business became embroiled in pecuniary difficulties, Scott set out, in 1814, to write a cash-cow. The result was Waverley.

Published anonymously Waverley was a huge success and gave Scott by far the biggest literary income of the day.

There followed a large set of novels in next five years, each the same general vein. Mindful of his reputation as a poet, Scott maintained the anonymous habit he had begun with Waverley, always publishing the novels under the name "Author of Waverley" or attributed as "Tales of..." with no author. Even when it was clear that there would be no harm in coming out into the open Scott maintained the facade, apparently out of a sense of fun. During this time the nickname "The Wizard of the North" was popularly applied to the mysterious best-selling writer.

His identity as the author of the novels was widely rumored, and in 1815 Scott was given the honor of dining with George, Prince Regent, who wanted to meet "the author of Waverley".

Scott officially disclosed his identity in 1827 at a public dinner at Edinburgh.

Scott was given the title of baronet by the Prince Regent and in March 1820 he received the baronetcy in London, becoming Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet.

Walter Scott stage managed the visit of George IV to Scotland in 1822 decking the royal occasion out with Highland trappings to create an event which revived the tartan tradition. The spectacular pageantry Scott concocted to portray George as a rather tubby reincarnation of Bonnie Prince Charlie made tartans and kilts fashionable and turned them into symbols of national identity.

Alexander Carse - 'The Landing of George IVth at Leith'

Scott was responsible, through a series of pseudonymous letters published in the Edinburgh Weekly News in 1826, for retaining the right of Scottish banks to issue their own banknotes, which is reflected to this day by his continued appearance on the front of all notes issued by the Bank of Scotland.

In 1826, as a result of a depression hitting Scotland, Scott's publishing/printing went bankrupt. He refused all offers of help following his bankruptcy. "No this right hand shall work it all off."

Scott wrote frantically for the rest of his life to pay back his debts of £116,000. It was a struggle because by this time his style had become old hat against trend-setters like Lord Byron, Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth with their new style of verse romance.

Scott paid back £45,000 in two years. as time passed his wife, son and grandson died and he had several strokes but by 1832 after five novels, a nine volume Life of Napoleon and a History of Scotland, he'd paid off half his debts.

Though not in the clear by his death, Scott's novels continued to sell, and he made good his debts from beyond the grave.


Walter Scott first made his name as a poet before writing 28 Historical novels in which he woved fictional characters and events around historic events.

He started writing at 6.00am in the morning writing very rapidly.

In 1805, he published The Lay of the Last Minstrel, an epic poem with certain similarities to Coleridge's Christabel. (Some critics say he plagiarized its metrics). Despite this the work made Scott famous, and established his career as a writer in spectacular fashion.

Scott's popular romance The Lady of the Lake, was printed in 1810. The work was set in the Trossachs, an area of wooded glens and braes with quiet lochs, lying to the east of Ben Lomond and it drew throngs of tourists to the Trossacks area.

Title page to the eighth edition, 1810

Portions of the German translation of The Lady In The Lake were set to music by Franz Schubert. One of these songs, "Ellens dritter Gesang", is popularly labelled as "Schubert's Ave Maria".

The Lady In The Lake was quickly made into unauthorized romantic melodramas. In November 1810, Scott wrote to a friend that his romance was being made into a play by Martin and Reynolds in London and by a Mr. Siddons in Edinburgh.

Verses from The Lady of the Lake, including "Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances!" were set to music around 1812 by the songwriter James Sanderson. This evolved into "Hail to the Chief," the official Presidential Anthem of the United States.

In the third canto of The Lady of the Lake, a burnt cross is used to summon Clan Alpine to rise against King James. This method of rallying supporters and publicizing their attacks was adapted by the second Ku Klux Klan in 1915 after the film, The Birth of a Nation. The Ku Klux Klan used cross burning for dramatic terror as a racist tactic.

Having, began as a collector of Border Ballads and as a narrative poet, Scott turned to fiction when his poetry was eclipsed by Byron, whose new style of verse romance was the flavor of the month.
Waverly, Scott's first novel, was a tale of the last Jacobite rebellion in the United Kingdom, the "Forty-Five".

Scott was inspired to write his first novel Waverley by the ruins of Waverley Abbey. He first started work on the story after editing his 1802-03 Minstrels of the Scottish Border, however he mislaid the manuscript and put it off. By 1814, the poetry of Lord Byron had began to overshadow Scott's, so he resurrected it.

Published on July 7, 1814, Waverley was an instant hit in Britain, America and Europe.

Waverley is often regarded as the first historical novel in the western tradition and the work made it respectable to use a historic background to tell a story and changed the way we look at history.

Scott's story about tartened, kilted Scots did a brilliant PR job for his nation. Up to then, the English had thought of the Scottish people as a nation of bloodthirsty savages but Waverley transformed them into brave warriors and stimulated interest in the previously un-imagined beauties of the Scottish countryside.

Sir Walter Scott, novelist and poet - painted by Sir William Allan

The Heart of Midlothian was originally published in four volumes on July 25, 1818, under the title of Tales of My Landlord, 2nd series, and the author was given as "Jedediah Cleishbotham, Schoolmaster and Parish-clerk of Gandercleugh". (Scott was still choosing to write under a pseudonym.)

Much of the dialogue of The Heart of Midlothian is in Lowland Scots, and some editions carry a glossary.

Heart of Midlothian F.C. (founded in 1874) took its name from the Heart of Midlothian jail, which was demolished in 1817 but was kept fresh in the mind by Scott's The Heart of Midlothian novel.

The Bride of Lammermoor is an historical book by Sir Walter Scott, published in 1819. The novel is set in the Lammermuir Hills of south-east Scotland, and tells of a tragic love affair between young Lucy Ashton and her family's enemy Edgar Ravenswood.

Scott was possibly thinking about an own unhappy love affair with Wilamina Belscheand when writing The Bride of Lammermoor and as result it is his own most passionate novel.

In 1820 Walter Scott published Ivanhoe, which is set in the Middle Ages during the reign of King Richard I of England. It marked a move away from Scott's focus on the local history of Scotland.

Title page of Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, 1st edition.

Scott took the name Ivanhoe from the village Ivinghoe in Buckinghamshire.

Scott introduced the word "freelance" to describe unattached for hire when he wrote in Ivanhoe "I offered Richard the services of my freelances."

'Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott' is an anagram of 'Novel by a Scottish writer.'

Ivanhoe sold its first edition within a fortnight.

In southern USA, jousting modeled on that described in Ivanhoe became a popular entertainment.

Tony Blair described Ivanhoe as "One of the great love stories of English literature". It is the book the former British prime minister would take to a desert island.

Anne of Geierstein is a novel published in 1829. It is set in Central Europe, mainly in Switzerland, shortly after the Yorkist victory at the Battle of Tewkesbury (1471) and covers the period of Swiss involvement in the Burgundian Wars.

The German Secret Society described in Anne of Gelerstein was the prototype for the Ku-Klux-Klan.

Scott's novels were expensive. His three volumes of Kenliworth cost 10s 6d a volume, (a huge amount in those days).

Scott was the first British novelist to become a noted public figure.

Mark Twain was not a fan. He said that Scott's revival of "sham chivalries of a brainless and worthless long-vanished society…did measureless harm; more real and lasting harm, perhaps, than any other individual that ever wrote."

Scott's novels stimulated interest in the previously unimagined beauties of the Scottish countryside and introduced to the rest of the world the Scottish style of bagpipe and kilts.


Walter Scott was tall and broad shouldered. He wore breeches and a shooting jacket when writing.

Even at the peak of his fame, Sir Walter Scott never lost the common touch. It was said of him that he spoke to every man he met as if he were a blood relative.

He could be witty..."Here lies that peerless paper peer, Lord Peter." Sometimes, though he resorted to bad jokes: " Please return my book. I find that though many of my friends are poor arithmeticians, they are nearly all good bookkeepers."


Scott was jilted in his early twenties by Wiliamina Belsches, the beautiful daughter of a bayonet. Her family rejected him for a more "suitable man". As a result Scott had a breakdown.

In 1797 Scott met a beautiful French woman Charlotte Margaret Carpenter while vacationing in the Lake District. After three weeks of courtship, Scott proposed and they were married later in the year on Christmas Eve in St Mary's Church, Carlisle.

They had five children, of whom four, Sophia, Walter, Anne and Charles survived by the time of Scott's death. Most were baptized by an Episcopalian clergyman, due to Charlotte's faith.

The couple remained happy until the death of Charlotte after three decades of marriage on May 25, 1826.


Walter Scott's family moved to 25 George Square in 1774.. George Square was the swankiest address in Edinburgh and Scott lived in George Square with his family until he got married in 1797.

The Scotts' family home in George Square, Edinburgh. By Stephencdickson

Scott and Charlotte started off their married life renting a house at 50 George Street, Edinburgh before moving in the autumn of 1798 to nearby South Castle Street.

After The Scott's third son was born in 1801, they moved to a spacious, three-story, gray-stone dwelling, built for Scott at 39 North Castle Street. This remained Scott's base in Edinburgh until 1826, when he could no longer afford two homes.

From 1798 Scott had spent the summers in a cottage at Lasswade, where he entertained guests including literary figures, and it was there that his career as an author began.

In 1804 he ended his use of the Lasswade cottage and leased the substantial house of Ashestiel, 6 miles (9.7 km) from Selkirk. It was sited on the south bank of the River Tweed, and had belonged to Scott's uncle William Russell, whose heir now dwelled in India. The building also incorporated an old tower house.

The lease at Ashestiel ran out in May 1811 and Scott bought a mountain farm situated in the Borders between Kelso and Melrose. He moved there with his wife and four children and named it Abbotsford. He wrote most of his novels there.

The success of Scott's earlier works enabled him to convert Abbotsford from a mere farmhouse to a Gothic baronial. He kept adding to the dwelling buying more and more land and covering the land with trees. In 1822 the original building was demolished to make way for what is now the main block of Abbotsford. By then it was 1400 acres which he liberally covered with trees. Once he'd converted the property into a country house, Scott kept the doors of Abbotsford open and entertained swarms of guests.

Abbotsford House. Wikipedia Commons


Sir Walter Scott had the religious certainty the majority of his day enjoyed. He wrote that he could look on death's approach without fear.

A prominent member of the Tory establishment in Edinburgh, Scott was an active member of the Highland Society and served a long term as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1820–32).

Scott's father was a Freemason, being a member of Lodge St David, No.36 (Edinburgh), and Scott also became a Freemason in his father's Lodge in 1801.


Scott liked to collect old books and he had a collection of about 9,000 books in his Abbotsford library.

He had a fascination for historic weaponry and Scott's collection of armor at his Abbotsford home contained an interesting mixture.

In his younger days Scott travelled around the Scottish countryside on foot or horseback exploring battlefields and ruins of old castles and forts.

Sometimes Walter Scott walked 20 or more miles a day. He made friends with country people, and learned their stories and their folk ballads. This developed in him an appreciation of the struggles of the Scots.


Scott had a black greyhound called Hamlet also a Greyhound called Percy and a Scottish deerhound called Maida.

There is a statue of him in Princes Street, Edinburgh with Maida (see below)

The novelist had a tomcat called Hinse who tormented Scott's dogs until a bloodhound called Nimrod killed him in 1826.

The Dandie Dinmont terrier takes its name from a fictional character called Dandie Dinmont in Scott’s novel Guy Mannering. Dinmont was based on a farmer called James Davidson who had some dogs on his farm. The novel was a great success and the Border terrier popularity spread throughout Britain adopting the Dandie Dinmont name.


After five years of intense work after his bankruptcy, Scott's health was broken by overwork.

In 1831, Scott sailed as a guest of the British government to the Mediterranean in search of health but was soon homesick and he returned home.

Scott returned to Scotland in 1832 but caught typhus during an epidemic in his homeland that year. He died on September 21, 1832 at Abbotsford.

His last words were to his family "God bless you all, I feel myself again."

Sir Walter Scott was buried in St Mary's Aisle, in the North Wing of the ruin of Dryburgh Abbey.

Sir Walter Scott's grave at Dryburgh Abbey. Pasicles 
Source Compton's Encyclopedia

Robert Falcon Scott


Robert Falcon Scott was born on June 6, 1868, in Stoke Damerel, near Devonport, Plymouth, Devon.

Robert was the third of six children and elder son of John Edward, a brewer and magistrate, and Hannah (née Cuming) Scott.

Scott pictured by Daniel A. Wehrschmidt, 1905

In accordance with the family's tradition, Robert and his younger brother Archie were educated from a young age for careers in the armed services. Robert spent four years at a local day school before being sent to Stubbington House School in Hampshire, a cramming establishment that prepared candidates for the entrance examinations to the naval training ship HMS Britannia at Dartmouth.


Having passed his entrance examinations to the naval training ship HMS Britannia, Scott began his naval career in 1881, as a 13-year-old cadet.

In July 1883, Scott passed out of Britannia as a midshipman.Within three months, he was en route to South Africa to join HMS Boadicea, the flagship of the English Channel fleet at that time. After numerous postings around Britain and North America, Scott rose to become a lieutenant in 1891, specializing in torpedoes.

Scott as a young man


The British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901–04, generally known as the Discovery Expedition, was the first official British exploration of the Antarctic regions since James Clark Ross's voyages between 1839-1843. Scott was appointed leader of the expedition, and was promoted to the rank of commander before Discovery sailed for the Antarctic on August 6, 1901.

Scott is the first man to penetrate the interior of Antarctica. The ship he used for this trip The Discovery, is now at Victoria Embankment.

Ernest Shackleton, Scott, and Edward Wilson before their march south 

The food supplied to the ship was so bad that Scott and the crew were forced to eat seal (similar to beefsteak) and penguin (which has the flavour of jugged hare).

Robert Scott and his men were the first people to penetrate the interior of the Antarctic. Discovery returned to Britain in September 1904. The expedition caught the public imagination, and Scott became a popular hero.

Scott brought home a white samoyede dog, which had become the ship's pet and a white parrot picked up on voyage.

Scott was promoted to rank of captain in the navy after his successful trip to the Antarctic.


Scott had a strong and determined face, clean shaven, tight firm lips, light blue eyes.

Robert Falcon Scott in full regalia

He had a placid and unconcerned demeanor but beneath it all he was a man of enormous enthusiasm.


Scott married Kathleen Bruce (1878-1947) at the Chapel of Hampton Court Palace on September 2, 1908. She was a noted sculptor and a pupil of Rodin.

Scott's son, Peter (b 1909) became a famous conservationist and 1936 Olympic Bronze winner for yachting.

Scott and Kathleen lived at 174 Buckingham Palace Road, London where their son Peter was born, also at 56 Oakley Street, Chelsea.


In December 1909, Scott was released from the navy on half-pay, to take up the full-time command of the British Antarctic Expedition 1910, known as the Terra Nova Expedition from its ship, an old converted whaler. Scott stated that its main objective was "to reach the South Pole, and to secure for the British Empire the honor of this achievement".

On June 15, 1910, the Terra Nova set sail from Cardiff, south Wales. Scott meanwhile was fundraising in Britain and joined the ship later in South Africa.

Arriving in Melbourne, Australia in October 1910, Scott received a telegram from the Norwegian Roald Amundsen stating: "Beg leave to inform you Fram proceeding Antarctic Amundsen", indicating that faced a race to the pole."

Robert Scott took several footballs to the South Pole and a selection of board games.

The march south began on November 1, 1911 and the final dash to the Pole was made by a party of five, led by Scott.

They reached the South Pole on January 17, 1912, only to find a letter for him written by Roald Amundsen to deliver to King Haakon VII of Norway should the Norwegian expedition perish on their return journey. Amundsen and his men had beaten them by 33 days. Scott made his disappointment clear in his diary: "The worst has happened"; "All the day dreams must go"; "Great God! This is an awful place".

Scott and his men at the South Pole

Scott's insistence on first using Siberian ponies and then man-hauling his goods to the Pole, instead of making full use of sled dogs was the single most obvious difference between the two expeditions. Scott did use dogs, but only as far as the Beardmore Glacier, whereas Amundsen, a more experienced dog-driver, took them all the way to the Pole. Scott's diary made it clear that he believed the heavy manual labor of sledge-hauling was morally superior to the use of dogs, and this prejudiced him towards the more inefficient method.

Scott, writing his journal in the Cape Evans hut, winter 1911

The deflated party began the 800-mile (1,300 km) return journey on January 19, 1912. On the return journey, Scott and his four comrades died from exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold.

On March 16, 1912, Captain Oates who was in charge of the ponies and had frostbitten toes, staggered into the blizzard uttering his famous remark about "going outside and being sometime." He sacrificed his life rather than slowing down his companions. Scott wrote in his diary "We all hope to meet the end with a similar spirit and assuredly the end is not far."

With the nearest base only miles away Scott pitched his last tents on March 19, 1912. During the next nine days, as their supplies ran out, and with blizzards still raging outside the tent, Scott and his companions wrote their farewell letters.

His last diary entry read "It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write any more." Scott is presumed to have died on March 29, 1912.

The bodies of Scott and two companions were found in a tent by a search party on November 12, 1912.

While Amundsen set out only to reach the Pole and get back alive, Scott's entire expedition was primarily scientific. Even as they were dying, Scott and Wilson stopped to pick up geological samples, of which they were hauling over 30lb. when they passed away. Although the dual motivation necessarily compromised the already wafer-thin safety margins of the trek, the science was important.

Among the samples found with Scott was a lump of coal from the Trans-Antarctic mountain range, which proved that the continent must have had a warm climate in the distant past. This discovery was of major geological importance and added to the weight of evidence which eventually resulted in the modern theory of plate tectonics. The dying men also kept meteorological records until near the end.

Scott's diary became a best-seller and helped make him a hero.

A tin of Frank Cooper's Oxford marmalade taken by Scott on his 1911 Antarctic exhibition was found in his tent in 1960. It was still edible.