Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Robert Foote
(c. 1802-54)

Born in Glasgow, he originally worked as a plasterer and stucco merchant in his father's firm, David Foote & Son, 1822-7, and became an architect in 1830 after inheriting the firm and diversifying as a builder.

He set up his practice at 50 Gordon Street, then moved to 205 Buchanan Street in 1831. After a brief stay at 46 Gordon Street, 1835-6, he returned to 50 Gordon Street until 1837.

Foote's work is rare, with only one building in Glasgow confirmed as his; a two storey block of shops and offices at 82-90 Buchanan Street (c. 1835, altered 1840), although an unidentified 'dwelling' in Blytheswood Square, c. 1835, has also been tentatively attributed to him (McFadzean (1979), p. 287, Notes. 11).

Wealthy and widely travelled, he was particularly interested in classical art and architecture and was one of few Glasgow architects who could actually afford to visit the ruins and museums of Greece and Italy.

His importance as an architect, however, rests soley on his discovery of Alexander 'Greek' Thomson , when the latter was a clerk in his lawyer's office, c. 1834.

One of the most significant events in Glasgow's architectural history, after admiring some sketches by Thomson , he offerred him an apprenticeship in his office and trained him for two years in the principles of Classical design.

This proved to be the catalyst for Thomson 's own, highly individual, contribution to Scottish Neo-Classical architecture.

After retiring in 1836, due to a spinal ailment, he briefly returned to active practice, 1840-6, but was eventually confined to his home in Helensburgh where he died.


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