Mysterious ‘Banksy’ sculpture pops up at Scott Monument

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A mysterious sculpture at the Scott monument left tourists and residents perplexed when it was placed at the Scott Monument on Valentines Day.

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Banksy style sculpture that's suddenly appeared at the foot of the Scott Monument. Picture; Ian Georgeson

Banksy style sculpture that's suddenly appeared at the foot of the Scott Monument. Picture; Ian Georgeson

From the swirling banks of Landform at the Modern Art Gallery to the disconnected bronze body parts of The Manuscript of Monte Cassino and the Dreaming Spires scrap-metal giraffes at the top of Leith Walk, the Capital is no stranger to intriguing works of public art.

But the latest sculpture to capture the city’s attention popped up on Princes Street without warning – leaving many scratching their heads as to where it came from.

The mystery installation Mine Girl appeared next to the plinth topped by Sir Walter Scott which sits in the centre beneath the Gothic spires of the Scott Monument, leaving the author looking down on a sculpture of a little girl, cast in white clay.

She is reaching not for a heart balloon, as in Banksy’s famous Girl With The Balloon artwork, but for a bright red metal mine with a heart cut from its centre. A black chain “string” trails from the mine.

The mysterious sculpture  appeared at the foot of the Scott Monument overnight. Picture; contributed

The mysterious sculpture appeared at the foot of the Scott Monument overnight. Picture; contributed

Scrawled on the metal stand which holds the mine in place is “Grantsy” – but why the sculpture was placed and what it means remains a matter for speculation.

Edinburgh University student Ajeng Setyo, 28, said: “It is very interesting to see a new installation within a Gothic monument. It is a very vivid statement which reminds everyone to love more, despite the situation across the world.”

The sculpture remained throughout yesterday, much to the curiosity of city residents and visitors who flocked to the front of the monument to catch a glimpse.

Huddles of people stopped to take photos and one passer-by said: “Lots of people are talking about it so I thought I would see what all the fuss was about.

The mystery behind the sculpture is not yet known.

The mystery behind the sculpture is not yet known.

“People are saying it might be a Banksy but I just can’t believe it was put up and no-one saw it happen.”

The statue has now been shifted and will be “stored safely nearby until claimed”.

Initial efforts to remove Mine Girl were made yesterday morning but the city council – which owns the Scott Monument – allowed it to remain on display throughout the day.

A spokeswoman said: “Staff at the Scott Monument were surprised to see the mysterious sculpture appear overnight.

“It appears to be a love note of sorts and certainly makes a statement.”

Lucy Askew, senior curator at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, said: “I haven’t seen this work but there is an interesting trend for artworks by anonymous artists appearing in unexpected public places which capture the public imagination – the series of book sculptures that appeared in locations across Edinburgh and Scotland for instance seemed to be very popular.”

The first of which was a tree, which was discovered on a table in the Scottish Poetry library in March 2011.

The anonymous artist created intricate sculptures carved out of books including a dinosaur and a bird which were left at cultural venues.