Refurbished Robert the Bruce statue unveiled ahead of Bannockburn anniversary
An iconic 1960s statue of Robert the Bruce which has undergone a programme of restoration has been unveiled. The Pilkington Jackson statue, which unveiled by the Queen in 1963 at the site of the battle of Bannockburn, has now been revealed to the public after a series of repair and conservation works have restored the monument to its original condition in time for the 700th anniversary of the battle in 2014.
Originally cast in bronze the famous monument, The Bruce, which depicts an axe-wielding Bruce on his war horse, had corroded over the decades, slowly turning green.
Work to clean, repair and apply a protective coating to the statue was commissioned in 2012 as part of the Battle of Bannockburn project, to further enhance the visitor experience at the historic site.
Sculptor Pilkington Jackson’s 1960s design depicts Bruce holding the axe with which he famously cleft the head of English knight Sir Henry de Bohun. Bruce’s head was modeled by Jackson on measurements of his skull following the re-discovery of his remains in Dunfermline Abbey in 1818.
Almost 50 years after the statue was originally unveiled to the public in 1964, head of the Bruce family, the 11th Earl of Elgin and 15th Earl of Kincardine (pictured), whose lineage runs back to King Robert, was at the Bannockburn heritage site alongside descendants of Pilkington Jackson in an intimate ceremony to reveal the newly-conserved statue to the world.
Kirsty Jackson, Granddaughter of sculptor Pilkington Jackson said: 'My Grandfather took great pride in his work and the Bruce statue represents to our family the culmination of his work as a sculptor which he began in 1910. The Bruce statue was his biggest and most physically demanding masterpiece; he worked on it in his 70s and took great pains to ensure every element of Bruce from his face to his armour to his battle-axe was as historically accurate as possible. My mother missed out on the original unveiling of the statue, but my sister was taken along aged six as a treat. For the three of us to be here for this moment is very special.'
Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said: 'The Robert the Bruce statue is an iconic part of the Bannockburn site, and a poignant reminder of the battle. It is extremely moving to visit the battlefield and see the statue of Bruce who is so synonymous with Scotland’s history.
'The statue has been painstakingly conserved to return it to its original condition so it can once again be appreciated by both Scots and visitors from around the world. The Scottish Government is pleased to have supported this flagship project as we mark the countdown to the 700th anniversary next year.'
(Images copyright National Trust for Scotland)