Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Robert Forrest
(1791-1852)
Born in Carluke, he was a stone mason and self-taught sculptor. He worked at the Clydesdale Quarries in Lanarkshire until being "discovered" by a Colonel Gordon ( Gunnis ).

His first commission was a life-size statue of a Highland Chieftain, followed by William Wallace, for Lanark (1817).

As a full-time sculptor he produced statues of literary and historical figures, completed Chantrey 's Lord Melville Monument, St Andrew's Square, Edinburgh (1822), and produced James V at Cramond Bridge, Clermiston House (c.1836).

His work in Glasgow is represented by the John Knox (1825) and William McGavin Monuments (1834) in the Necropolis (the former designed by William Warren, the latter modelled by John Ritchie).

In 1834, he entered the competition for the Sir Walter Scott Monument in Glasgow's George Square, but lost to John Greenshields.

In 1840, he exhibited some of his work in his studio in Glasgow's Hope Street.

The exhibits included a colossal equestrian statue of Napoleon, a portrait of the Duke of Wellington, The Sisters of Scio, A Scottish Duke in Highland Costume, and Mazeppa and the Wild Steed, all "sculptured from one block of stone taken from the best specimens of our native rock" (Scottish Reformers Gazette, 4 April 1840).

He also executed the Henry Bell Monument, Rhu (c.1848) and the statue of the Duke of Wellington, Falkirk (1851).

Sources:

  • Scottish Reformers Gazette, 4 April, 1840;
  • Gunnis , 1951.
 
Works in our Database:
1: The Necropolis (Townhead),
Kappa
Monument to John Knox (1825)
Designer: W Warren; Carver: R Forrest; Architect: T Hamilton
2: The Necropolis (Townhead),
Sigma
Monument to William McGavin (1834)
Sculptor: R Forrest; Architect: D Bryce
 
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