Edinburgh’s most famous and best loved canine character, Greyfriars Bobby was the faithful Skye terrier who belonged to John Gray, a city night watchman.
After Gray died and interred in the Greyfriars Kirkyard, an inconsolable Bobby is said to have spent the next fourteen years sitting beside his master’s grave, all the while lovingly tended and cared for by locals, until his own death on January 14, 1872.
He was buried just inside the gate of the kirkyard, not far from his master’s grave.
His fame had already been such that, about five years before his death, Sir William Chambers, the city’s Lord Provost, paid for his licence and presented him with a collar – both of which can be seen in the Museum of Edinburgh.
A year before his death, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, president of the ladies’ committee of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), commissioned the Greyfriars Bobby Fountain, erected at the junction of George 1V Bridge and Candlemaker Row, opposite the entrance to the kirkyard.
Fashioned from granite, it is surmounted by a magnificent bronze statue of Bobby sculpted from life by William Brodie.
Unveiled on November 15, 1873, the world-famous fountain has the rather unusual honour of being Edinburgh’s smallest listed building, while it is considered good luck to rub the devoted dog’s bronze nose – explaining its rather well-polished appearance.
Meanwhile a red granite monument erected near his grave in the kirkyard by the Dog Aid Society of Scotland and unveiled in 1981 by the Duke of Gloucester, has become something of a shrine for dog lovers from all over the world – some even leaving sticks for him to ‘fetch’.
The inscription reads: “Greyfriars Bobby – Died 14 January 1872 – Aged 16 years – Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.”
Now Lang Studios has commissioned this magnificent resin figurine of the Greyfriars Bobby statue as a celebration of one of the greatest Edinburgh true stories ever told. An ornament, statue, miniature, to treasure.