Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
David Buchanan

A Monumental Sculptor, he was born in the Village of Auchinloch, in the Cadder district of Glasgow, on 4 May 1844, the son of Archibald Buchanan and Jean Rankin. He worked from premises in Collins Street, in Townhead.

After training as a carver under John Mossman and his brother William Mossman II at GSA , he taught modelling at the school for a number of years, and worked as a manager of J & G Mossman 's workshop before establishing his own firm of monumental sculptors, in 1878.

During his time as an 'arts student' in his twenties, he boarded at 35 Renfrew Street, where he his listed in the 1871 Census. In 1873, he married Christina Thomson, on 18 July, and lived at 17 Westbury Street, and later at 73 John Knox Street, in 1881. Their son, David Archibald Buchanan, who was born on 28 March 1876, the first of at least seven children, also became a sculptor (their other children followed careers as drapers, and tracers for engravers).

Buchanan eventually rivalled the Mossmans in his prodigious output of monuments for Glasgow's cemeteries. Interesting examples of his work are in the celebrated Necropolis, such as:

The McKirdy Monument, designed by James Thomson (1891); the stones to architect John S Barclay (1892) and Allan Muir (1894); as well as the Celtic Cross erected to Rev. Robert Selkirk Scott, the Minister of Copland Street UP Church and Secretary of the Manchester and Home Mission. The monument is signed: D. Buchanan, Sc., Collins Street (1894).

Buchanan died on 27 February, 1923, at 17 Florida Street, aged 77, his cause of death being recorded as 'Catarrh of Stomach; Ulcer of Stomach; Haematimesis'. He was buried in Sighthill Cemetery in Springburn, close to the location of his former workshop, from whose catalogues his monument was eventually chosen.


  • POD : 1878-1920;
  • Information from Caroline Gerard, e-mail, 29 December 2008;
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