St. John's Churchyard Branch Sculpture – Edinburgh, Scotland - Atlas Obscura
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St. John's Churchyard Branch Sculpture

St John the Evangelist Episcopal Church

The artwork mysteriously appeared within an Edinburgh cemetery. 


At some point in mid-2019, an approximately 6.5-foot-tall (two-meter-tall) sculpture made of wooden branches appeared in a terrace of St. John’s Churchyard, a cemetery located in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens.

A lack of any plaque with information about the artist responsible for making the sculpture or of any organization responsible for its placing, as well as a lack of any online sources on its origin, bring to mind similar cases of anonymous sculptural donations.

The Edinburgh Book Sculptures phenomenon started in this city in 2011. Six years later, the first Wooden Animals popped up without any dedication.

The figurative sculpture at St. John’s Churchyard seems to represent a childlike figure being held aloft by a larger one. Echoes of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” along with its placement in a cemetery, make it possible that it might be meant to represent grief.

Perhaps it is a tribute to a mother or baby, or both, dead and buried in this cemetery a long time ago. Theories seem to be all there is to go on for the time being, although this sculpture is already contributing to what might become a particularly Edinburgh occurrence.

Know Before You Go

The sculpture can be found on the second terrace of the cemetery coming down from Princes Street. Entrance to St Cuthbert's Kirkyard follows the usual opening hours for Princes Street Gardens, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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