Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Percy Portsmouth
(1873-1953)
Born in Edinburgh, he pursued a highly successful career sculpting portrait busts and ideal pieces which he exhibited at the RSA , 1903-50.

His only recorded work in Glasgow is in the Necropolis: the monument to William John Kennedy (1904).

He also designed war memorials, two of which were exhibited at the RSA in 1908 and 1919, and contributed the sculpture of the Survival of the Spirit to the façade of the Scottish National War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle (1924-7); and produced the bronze figure of Repentance for the war memorial at Castletown, Caithness (1925).

Amongst his busts are his wife Mrs P Portsmouth (1908) and the painter D Y Cameron (1914).

Occupying addresses at 65 Warrender Square, with a studio at Westhall Gardens, Edinburgh, he retired as Chair of Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art in 1929, and moved to Rushden, Hertfordshire. He lived at Youngloves, where he kept a dismantled aeroplane in his barn, which he said he’d rebuild and fly to Ireland if the Germans invaded.

His work during this period includes his wife’s monument in Rushden Churchyard, with a seated bronze figure, and a Madonna and Child group in the church.

Portsmouth’s ghost has been seen in the garden of Youngloves, identified by its heavy whiskers and artist’s smock.


Sources:

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