That Edinburgh Castle inspired Emerald City in Wizard of Oz shows power of imagination – leader comment

The work of Edinburgh-born Hollywood artist George Gibson is to be celebrated in his home country for the first time with a special event at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in April.

Edinburgh Castle helped inspire George Gibson's design of the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

When Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion sang about being “off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz”, their ultimate destination, the source of all their hopes, was the Emerald City.

And, according to George Gibson, the Edinburgh-born artist who designed backdrops for the famous film, he based the city’s gleaming green spires on his childhood memories of Edinburgh Castle.

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Edinburgh-born artist who created the Emerald City for ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to be ...

Now, it’s probably fair to say that the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz and the ancient fortifications at the heart of Scotland’s capital are not exactly dead ringers for one another. However, the imagination of a child is a powerful thing and this is perhaps a quality that artists retain more than others.

Being able to see things in a different light – even quite literally as, when we last checked, Edinburgh Castle wasn’t actually green – is a useful talent to have.

We recognise that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but our perceptions of reality in a wider sense can sometimes change radically if we take a different perspective and use a bit of imagination.