Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Sir George Washington Browne

Born on 21 September, 1853, he was Edinburgh based for most of his career after training in Glasgow with Campbell Douglas, and then in London with Reginald Blomfield and W E Nesfield. After winning the Pugin Travelling Scholarship in 1878, he completed his studies in Paris.

On returning to Scotland he formed partnerships with Robert Rowand Anderson, as Anderson & Browne, 1881-84, later Wardrop, Anderson & Browne, 1884-85, then practiced on his own until he partnered J M Dick Peddie, as Peddie & Browne, 1896-1908.

His Glasgow works were few but distinguished. These were the double-villa, Royston and Westdel, Dowanside (c. 1889); and Miss Cranston's Tea Room, 91 Buchanan Street (1896-7).

He also competed in two of the city's most prestigious design competitions:

The City Chambers, the drawings for which were submitted under the motto Usui Civium, Decori Urbium (trans: Public Service, Civic Ornament), and published in The British Architect on 13 October, 1882; and his Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (1892).

Although both sets of designs were commended by their respective assessors, they were ultimately rejected.

His designs for the City Chambers were notable for their placing of the main tower behind the Cochrane Street corner, and for their distinct lack of statues and other sculpture; unlike all the other entries which invariably had their tower at the centre of the main, George Square facade, and which were over-endowed with figures and groups.

His prodigious output in Edinburgh includes, Edinburgh Central Library (1887-9); Redfern's Shop, Princes Street (1892); and a studio for the sculptor D W Stevenson . He also designed the Swan Memorial in Kirkaldy.

Browne died on 15 June, 1939, and was buried in Edinburgh's Grange Cemetery.


Works in our Database:
1: Buchanan Street (City Centre),
Former Cranston's Tea and Luncheon Rooms, 91 Buchanan Street
Relief Panels with Putti and Associated Decorative Carving (1896-7)
Sculptor: unknown; Architect: GW Browne
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