Robert Burns and Civil War Memorial
The Burns Memorial in Denver's City Park is a portrait of poet Robert Burns. It was donated to the city by the Caledonian Club No. 1 (Scottish Society) in 1909. Burns was a Romantic poet in Scotland. He was a charmer and had many illicit affairs that influenced his poetry. His poems and folk stories are still recited today. His statue is in the center of a display of weaponry from the Civil War. The Grand Republic Army donated 3 pieces of artillery to the state, along with a garden.
Backstory and Context
Caledonian Club No. 1 (Scottish Society) of Denver commissioned the statue. The project was spearheaded by club member John Duff McGilvray. McGilvray was a prominent member of the board of Supervisors for Denver. He played a vital part in the acquisition of land for City Park. Robert Burns is a Scottish poet. He has a colorful history that the club wanted to commemorate. William Grant Stevenson was hired to sculpt the Burns Memorial. Civil War Artillery Cannons surround Burns along with the first garden.
Burns was a poor tenet farmer living in 1759-1796. Despite his humble beginnings he poured his soul into his pen. Eventually he became one of the most famous poets in Scotland. His poetry is an example of Romanticism. He was a capricious man in relationships, flitting from one love interest to another. Over his lifetime this resulted 12 children. With his first book of poems he gained success that allowed him to move to Edinburgh. From there he wrote many lyrical poems and folk songs that are still recanted today. Many Western thinkers find inspiration in his works.
The artist, William Grant Stevenson, came from Edinburgh. This is a town prominent in the poets personal history. In 1909 the memorial was dedicated to City Park. The 10ft figure of Robert Burns is cast in bronze. He stands holding his waistcoat and a book of poetry. The figure is on an ornate base of marble and polished red granite. At the bottom of the statue an inscription is carved into the base.
A POET PEASANT BORN,
who more of fame's immortal dower
unto his country brings,
than all her kings.
The Burns Statue is surrounded Civil War Union Artillery. The cannons and garden were donated in 1897 by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). The Civil War resulted in many innovations in weaponry. Three are on display here. The artillery include: a 13 inch Seacoast Mortar, 11 inch Navy Dahlgren, and a 6.4 inch (100 pound) Navy Parrott Rifle. This display encircles the Burns Statue.
- Burns Memorial , Denver Public Art. Accessed June 18th 2020. https://denverpublicart.org/public-arts/robert-burns-memorial-3/.
- Swackhammer, Barry. G.A.R Memorial, Civil War Artillery. December 19th 2010. Accessed June 18th 2020. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=61985.
- Robert Burns, Biography. March 6th 2016. Accessed June 18th 2020. https://www.biography.com/writer/robert-burns.