Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Peter Lawrence

A sculptor noted for his work in Glasgow's Necropolis, he is listed in the city's PODs from 1835.

His addresses are given as 35 Renfrew Street in 1835, and 27 Renfrew Street in 1839.

One of the earliest sculptors producing monuments for the Necropolis (opened in 1833), his many large and small-scale monuments there include Anne Ritchie; the Crawford family; Patrick Graham (1838); and Andrew Gilbert, the father of artist John Graham Gilbert (c. 1838).

Lawrence died on 27 January 1839, at the age of 43, and was buried in the Gamma section of the Necropolis.

Shortly after his death a few of his friends instigated a design competition for his monument. This was won by John Mossman and is the most important sculpture in the Necropolis.

Carved by Mossman in 1839-40, the monument bears a relief portrait of Lawrence on its circular pedestal. This was originally surmounted by a standing winged youth representing Life, holding an inverted, extinguished torch.

The monument's importance stems from the fact that the commission secured John Mossman 's reputation, and the fact that the winged youth was reputedly the first free-standing figure produced in the west of Scotland by a sculptor rather than a stonemason.

Since then, the figure has been smashed by vandals. Its fragments are now in the care of the city council.

His monument is inscribed:

In Memory Of Peter Lawrence, Sculptor. Who Died 27th January, 1839. Age 43. A Few Friends Have Raised This Monument To Express Their Esteem And Admiration For His Worth As A Man And His Talent As An Artist. 1840.


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