View and zoom into this image on our new collection website
James Clerk Maxwell, 1831 – 1879. Physicist
© Alexander and Catriona Stoddart

Reference URL

James Clerk Maxwell, 1831 – 1879. Physicist 2009

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
This is a study for the statue of the physicist, James Clerk Maxwell, commissioned by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and erected in George Street in 2008. Maxwell, with his dog Toby at his feet, holds a spinning colour top. This device enabled him to analyse the phenomenon of colour perception and in 1861 he produced the first colour photographic image using red, green and blue filters. In the side reliefs the figures of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein are depicted as classical philosophers. Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism influenced Einstein, who remarked that his predecessor’s theories were “the most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton”.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.


A form of sculpture where the image or design projects from a flat surface types of which include, bas-relief or low relief.

Commission, Relief


  • Acc. No. PG 3658
  • Medium Bronze
  • Size 91.00 x 40.00 x 59.10 cm
  • Credit Gifted by Norma and Walter Nimmo 2010