Bronze memorial relief, 7 feet 7 inches x 9 feet 1 inch
(2.31 x 2.77 m.), St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial, 1899-1903

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was a Scottish novelist, essayist, and poet. In 1887, Stevenson posed for Saint-Gaudens in New York and Manasquan, New Jersey. The bronze memorial, in the Cathedral of St. Giles in Edinburgh, Scotland, is a variation of the 1887 relief portrait. The early design had Stevenson in bed, holding a sheaf of papers in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Several versions later, the memorial has Stevenson seated on a couch, covered by a traveling rug, holding a quill pen.  The first two versions of the Stevenson portrait contain three couplets from a poem by the writer: "Youth now flees on feathered foot…"   


First version, reduction,
gilded copper electrotype,
6 5/8 x 13 5/8 inches
(16.83 x 34.61 cm.),
collection of SGNHS

 

For the memorial, Saint-Gaudens replaced the poem with a prayer by Stevenson: "Give us the grace and strength to forbear…"  Several editions of this popular portrait in reduction were issued, some with versions of Stevenson’s poem, and some without, with slight variations in decorative details, design, and style.



Second version,
bronze, 17 3/4 inches
(45.08 cm.) diameter,
collection of SGNHS