Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Robert Forrest

Born in Carluke, he was a stone mason and self-taught sculptor. He worked at the Clydesdale Quarries in Lanarkshire until being "discovered" by a Colonel Gordon ( Gunnis ).

His first commission was a life-size statue of a Highland Chieftain, followed by William Wallace, for Lanark (1817).

As a full-time sculptor he produced statues of literary and historical figures, completed Chantrey 's Lord Melville Monument, St Andrew's Square, Edinburgh (1822), and produced James V at Cramond Bridge, Clermiston House (c.1836).

His work in Glasgow is represented by the John Knox (1825) and William McGavin Monuments (1834) in the Necropolis (the former designed by William Warren, the latter modelled by John Ritchie).

In 1834, he entered the competition for the Sir Walter Scott Monument in Glasgow's George Square, but lost to John Greenshields.

In 1840, he exhibited some of his work in his studio in Glasgow's Hope Street.

The exhibits included a colossal equestrian statue of Napoleon, a portrait of the Duke of Wellington, The Sisters of Scio, A Scottish Duke in Highland Costume, and Mazeppa and the Wild Steed, all "sculptured from one block of stone taken from the best specimens of our native rock" (Scottish Reformers Gazette, 4 April 1840).

He also executed the Henry Bell Monument, Rhu (c.1848) and the statue of the Duke of Wellington, Falkirk (1851).


  • Scottish Reformers Gazette, 4 April, 1840;
  • Gunnis , 1951.
Works in our Database:
1: The Necropolis (Townhead),
Monument to John Knox (1825)
Designer: W Warren; Carver: R Forrest; Architect: T Hamilton
2: The Necropolis (Townhead),
Monument to William McGavin (1834)
Sculptor: R Forrest; Architect: D Bryce
Open Full Sculpture Database

Click here to return to the top.

All images and biographies are our copyright and may not be reproduced
in any form whatsoever without our express permission.

Home Page |  Sculpture Database |  Sculptors & Designers |  Architects, Builders & Foundries |  Quick Tour
Acronyms |  Glossary |  Bibliography |  Useful Links |  About Us |  Privacy Policy |  Copyright | 
For sculpture and architecture: we have over 300 biographies of sculptors and architects connected with Glasgow, Scotland.
Copyright 2001-2024