Born at Berkley Terrace, Glasgow, on 3 May 1862, he was the fifth son of a cotton manufacturer
and merchant, Andrew Paterson.
He studied at the Western Academy, Glasgow Academy and Glasgow University, where he graduated with an Arts degree in 1882.
His architectural training commenced with Jean Louis Pascal at
the École des Beaux Arts, Paris, studying decoration under Monsieur Galland, 1883-6.
On returning to Glasgow, he became an assistant to Pascal's former pupil,
J J Burnet
, then completed
his training in the London offices of Robert W Edis (architect of the
Conservative Club, Wellington Street (1888, dem. c. 1970s), and Aston Webb,
for whom he worked on the drawings for the Victoria And Albert Museum,
and who influenced his taste for Edwardian Baroque.
Widely travelled, he toured the USA after winning the Godwin Bursary
He established his own practice in 1891, producing designs for the
Kelvingrove Art Gallery Competition (1891, unbuilt); the Carnegie Aquarium,
Edinburgh Zoo; Golfhill Primary School, 1-11 Circus Drive (1901-3, dem.
1996); Robert Maclehose & Co Printing Works, Foulis Street, later the
University Press (1903-6, dem. c. 1996); and several houses
Elstow, 5 Victoria Circus is perhaps his finest house in Glasgow (1899).
He also made alterations and additions to houses in Glasgow, such as the double villa Westdel and
Royston, Queen's Place (1896, 1906), for which
C R Mackintosh
designed interiors and fittings in 1901.
In 1903, he entered into partnership with Campbell Douglas, as Campbell Douglas & Paterson, until
1910, and later partnered D M Stoddart, from 1919.
Paterson's finest commercial building in Glasgow is the former National Bank of Scotland,
30 St. Enoch Square, which features figurative sculpture modelled by
representing Exchange; Prudence; Security; and Adventure, all
, of McGilvray & Ferris (1906-7).
Contemporary with this is Paterson's magnificent Liberal Club, 54 Nelson Mandela Place,
which he ornamented with decorative work by an unidentified carver, including a pair of
powerfully modelled lion masks at its entrance (1907-9).
Another of his buildings with sculpture was Golfhill Primary School, which featured roundels
with profile heads also by an unidentified carver. The heads were lost when the building was demolished
He also designed monuments for cemeteries, such as the monument to Margaret Hunter in Helensburgh
Cemetery (1901); the family monument and cenotaph to Andrew Bonnar Law, the Prime Minister, also in Helensburgh
Cemetery (1923-4); the Guthrie Monument, Rhu Churchyard; and the monument to his own sister-in-law, Edith
Charlotte Amy Browne, in Brooklands Cemetery, Sale, Cheshire.
After World War I, he was commissioned to design a number of public war memorials and several for churches and
companies. His public war memorials date from around 1919, and include:
Ancrum, Roxburghshire (c. 1919); Kilean and Kilkenzie, Tayinloan (c. 1919); Lennoxtown, Campsie
(c. 1919); and Luss, Dunbartonshire (c. 1919). He later designed the war memorial at Helensburgh (1923),
and the Glasgow Academy War Memorial, Colebrook Street, Glasgow (1924).
His war memorials for companies include: the War Memorial Sundial for the Bon Accord Works, Yoker (c. 1919, lost); the
memorials for the Glasgow Dairy Company Ltd (c. 1919); and the National Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh (1920).
Elected President of RIAS
, 1906, and ARSA
, 1911, he regularly exhibited
architectural designs and watercolours, and was joint assesor in the
competitions for Langside Library, 1913, and the Trongate Reconstruction
He married the painter Maggie Hamilton in 1897, and settled in Helensburgh. They lived initially at Turret,
and later at Long Croft, which he designed in 1901.
Paterson died at home on 10 July 1947, and was buried in Helensburgh Cemetery, his family lair marked by a
large Celtic cross designed by William Leiper in 1901, and carved by Peter Smith, of Glasgow.
His architectural practice continued as Watson, Salmond & Gray.