Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Daniel MacGregor Ferguson
(1841/2-1912)
A descendant of Rob Roy MacGregor, he was born in Stirlingshire and studied drawing and modelling at GSA , under John Mossman and William Mossman II , winning a National Gold Medal for a figure modelled from life, in 1869.

He initially worked as a wood carver from 1860, at 122 Berkley Street, then became an assistant to John Mossman , working on his statues of David Livingstone (1879) and Norman Macleod (1881), both in Cathedral Square.

He also assisted with their larger contracts for architectural sculpture, e.g., the groups on the former St. Andrew's Halls, Granville Street (1873-7, now the Mitchell Theatre), and was probably one of the sculptors seen working at the groups in the Annan photograph of J & G Mossman 's workshop taken, c. 1876 (Pearson, 1991).

Ferguson later became Chief Assistant to James Young and worked on his architectural sculpture in the 1880s, although no records exist of what projects he worked on.

Best known today for the many portrait busts and ideal works he produced throughout his career, these include the bust of James Reid, of the Hydepark Locomotive Works; a medallion portrait of W E Gladstone (1886); The Slinger and David and Goliath.

He also produced bronze medallion portraits for monuments in cemeteries in Glasgow, Helensburgh and Stirling.

For Tollcross Cemetery, Glasgow, he executed the bronze medallion of Rev. William Auld for an obelisk carved by Peter Smith (of J & G Mossman ) (1885), and at Stirling Cemetery, he produced a large medallion portrait for his father's monument, which was cast in Paris (c. 1888). For Helensburgh Cemetery, he sculpted the bronze portrait of Rev. J Lindsay (1895).

In 1889, Ferguson produced the small sculpture group, Ma Guid New Drooko, as an advertisment for Joseph Wright, the purveyor of Drooko umbrellas, who displayed it in his shop at 106 Argyle Street, in Glasgow. The group was featured in The Govan Press newspaper at the time and was described as being 'highly artistic and humorous' in the article A Gem of Plastic Art (16 November 1889, p. 10).

The article gave a description of this rare work as showing 'an elderly dame with uplifted broom in the attitude of chastising two puppies who are having a tug of war with her faithful new umbrella'.

A year later, he designed the railings around the grave of his kinsman Rob Roy MacGregor in Balquhidder Church yard (1890).

Ferguson exhibited at the RGIFA , 1873-96, and his addresses are listed variously in the PODs as 43 Elderslie Street, 1873; 229 North Street, 1875; and 13 Carnarvon Street, 1887. He later moved to Muirlaggan, Balquhidder, where he died on 26th November, 1912, leaving an estate valued at 48.5s.

A Gaelic speaker and kilt wearer, his photograph (together with one of his father's portrait medallion) is included on the Clan Ferguson Society website (http://www.clanfergusonsociety.co.uk/history.html).

Sources:

  • The Govan Press, A Gem of Plastic Art, 16th November, 1889, p. 10;
  • The Bailie, no. 1060, 8th February, 1893;
  • Clan Ferguson Society website: http://www.clanfergusonsociety.co.uk/history.html;
  • ML : Confirmations and Inventories, 1913, p. 212;
  • Billcliffe ;
 
Works in our Database:
1: Cathedral Square Gardens (Townhead),
Cathedral Square Gardens
Monument to the Reverend Dr Norman Macleod (1881)
Sculptor: J Mossman; Assisted by: DM Ferguson; Foundry: James Moore of Thames Ditton
2: Granville Street (Anderston),
Mitchell Theatre
Figurative Programme (1875-7)
Sculptors: J Mossman, W Mossman Junior; Assisted by: DM Ferguson;
Architect: J Sellars; Mason: J Watson
 
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