The Stone Alphabet
The curved wall beside the road junction forming part of the entrance to Craigleith Retail centre is known as the 'Stone Alphabet' which Sainsbury's commissioned the sculptor James Ritchie to produce.
The wall is inscribed with large angle-carved letters in Stainton sandstone blocks, along the top of a curved wall, with 'Craigleith Quarry J Sainsbury'.
The wall has 26 different stones of limestone, sandstone, marbles etc from 18 different countries sculptured into various shapes.
A steel plaque on the wall reads:-
'The 26 pieces of stone alphabet form a symbolic alphabet, reminding of progress made in communications, science and art. It is both a monument in its beginnings in the quarry and a record of the quarry's industrial past.'
James Ritchie 1993.
James Ritchie studied at Edinburgh College of Art and has also exhibited widely in Scotland. He taught at Napier Polytechnic and the Sculpture Department of Edinburgh College of Art
The wall is described in the "Canmore" website, part of Historic Environment Scotland: - Canmore - Craigleith Quarry
"26 elements arranged in a horizontal band on a sandstone curving wall topped by carved letters.
Each form is unique, some multi-part, all abstract, and centred on a horizontal line
(with the exception of the largest element, a cog-like form, which drops below the other and goes horizontally 'into' the wall.
The rest follow the frontal vertical plane of the wall). A variety of surface textures, colours and types of stone have been used.
Most forms play on the square / rectangle / circle motif.
The 26 different stones come from 18 different countries.
Inscriptions : Large angle-carved letters into sandstone blocks along top of curved wall (left to right): CRAIGLEITH QUARRY J SAINSBURY
Carved into stone at front of wall supporting 'garden' in front of work: MCMXCIII Signatures : [Steel plaque on wall to right gives title, explanation and artist's name]".