Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
John Crawford
(1830-61)
An architectural sculptor, he trained as a carver and hewer with John Mossman and William Mossman II , and studied at Glasgow School of Art where he was a frequent prizewinner.

In 1848, he was given press attention when the art patron A S Dalglish awarded him 5 after admiring his Copy of a Niobe (Glasgow Gazette).

After completing his sudies he set up a studio at 28 Mason Street in 1856, and immediately embarked on several commissions for architectural sculpture.

For architect John Burnet , Crawford carved the portrait heads on the former Alexander's School, 94 Duke Street, which include Homer, Shakespeare and Milton (1857); the heraldic group and doorcase for the Bank of Scotland, 1 Carlton Place (1858); and a relief figure of Hope Resting on an Anchor at the entrance to the Seamen's Chapel, 7 Brown Street (1860-1, dem. c. 1971).

The figure of Hope was lost in 1926, when it was removed during altertions to the Chapel's entrance. Another lost work was a statue of Britannia, which stood above John McInyre's warehouse at the north east corner of Glasgow Cross (c. 1850s). The statue was lost when the building's top storey was removed, c. 1949.

Outwith Glasgow, he executed a monument at Bothwell, designed by John Honeyman (1856), and two cherubs for the Parish Church in Kippen (c. 1860).

Crawford was one of a host of carvers from Glasgow and elsewhere, who worked under John Thomas on the vast sculpture scheme for the Houses of Parliament in London.

Five years after embarking on his career, he and his family were victims of the typhus epidemic of 1861.

Crawford died in the Royal Infirmary on 7th February 1861, followed by his wife, Elizabeth, a week later. They were buried in Sighthill Cemetery, where their simple monument now lies broken.

At the time of their deaths their home was at 5 Stanhope Street.

A surviving son, John M. Crawford, became an architect in Dumbarton and designed Dennistoun Baptist Church, Glasgow (1907-09).


Sources:

  • Glasgow Gazette, 8 July, 1848;
  • GH [Obit], 13 December, 1861;
  • Nisbet, in McKenzie (1999) ;
  • Gifford & Walker (1982), p. 560;
  • Eyre Todd [J.M. Crawford], 1909;
  • Information on Crawford's death provided by Caroline Gerard.
 
Works in our Database:
#29 1: Bridge Street (Laurieston),
Bank of Scotland, 1-3 Bridge Street
Arms of the Bank of Scotland (c.1857)
Sculptor: J Crawford;
Architect: J Burnet
2: Duke Street (Calton),
Former Ladywell School, 94 Duke Street
Six Portrait Roundels (c.1858)
Sculptor: J Crawford; Architect: J Burnet
 
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