Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Clubb & McLean
(fl. 1852-72)
A prolific firm of monumental sculptors established by Alexander Clubb and his cousin, Peter McLean, in 1853.

McLean (1833-c. 54) was the son of sculptor Alexander McLean, whose workshop he succeeded to after his father’s death. This was situated on the south side of Kirk Lane, near the Necropolis Superintendent’s House, where it can be seen in contemporary photographs crowded with new monuments and the crane to lift them.

In 1853, McLean lived at 43 Castle Street, and at 30 Drygate in 1854, which was the last year that he is listed in the Glasgow Post Office Directory.

Sculptor Alexander Clubb was born in or near Dunoon in 1807, and lived in Glasgow (in 1851) at 97 Carrick Street, Springburn, with his wife and son, Alexander (born c.1844). Clubb’s partnership with Peter McLean lasted for one year only (1853-4). After the latter’s sudden death, he continued to trade under the firm’s name until 1872, when he eventually returned to Dunoon, where he died on 6th December 1873 of a diseased liver and an acute attack of brain disease. Clubb was buried in Glasgow Cathedral’s New Burial Ground.

The firm produced a significant number of impressive, sculptural monuments for the Necropolis and Glasgow’s other cemeteries.

These include the finely carved stones in the Necropolis to Robert Stewart, of Omoa, designed by architect James Brown (c.1854, signed McLean); the bookseller David Robertson, with a stone portrait relief (1856, signed Clubb & McLean); and John Miller, of Muirshields (1856, Clubb & McLean).

The latter is the firm’s most impressive work in the Necropolis, and was discussed, and its sculptors identified, in an article published in the Glasgow Herald on 10th September 1856:

“A beautiful monument has just been erected on the summit of the Necropolis to the memory of John Miller of Muirshields…it consists of a highly ornate sarcophagus resting on a massive oblong pedestal, the base and cornice of which are enriched with Roman Doric mouldings, and each of its corners at the top with graceful consols (sic)…the sarcophagus…may be regarded as a mixture of the Greek and Elizabethan styles.

In alto relievo on each side are carved pairs of inverted torches, crosswise, and bound at the point of junction with laurel wreaths. The pedestal itself is a sarcophagus formed exactly on the model of Scipio’s tent in Rome. [The sculptors are] Clubb & McLean. It stands in the farthest eastern terrace”.

Outwith Glasgow, a good example of their work is the white marble wall monument commemorating Rev. John Reid in Old Kilpatrick Bowling Church (1867).

Sources:

  • PODs : 1853-72;
  • Gifford & Walker (2002), p.626;
  • GH : 10 Sept 1856;
  • Blair, p.140;
  • Caroline Gerard: e-mails re Census returns.

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