J. Wells after Robert Barker, Panorama of Edinburgh
from the Calton Hill (detail), c. 1800
There is a great essay in Kathleen Jamie's book Findings called 'Skylines' in which she takes a telescope up to Calton Hill in Edinburgh to study the city from above, looking at the spires and domes, inscriptions and statues, clocks and weather vanes. 'The city sends up noise and fumes, and also the symbols of the day, the zeitgeist cast in shining brass and lifted skyward.' Among the roofs she sees an eight-pointed star, an arrow, a trident, a moon, a red lion, a pelican, five different cockerels. In the old days of the city, 'before every scrap of land was built on and cities became slums, what was raised up high were cockerels.' Later generations would elevate allegorical sculptures, great Victorian crosses, aerials and telephone masts. Now, after centuries of urban development, the newest building visible from Calton Hill has on its roof (invisible from the ground) a garden.