Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Mortimer, Willison & Graham
(fl. 1938 - c. 1961)

Firm of architectural carvers formed by Jack Mortimer (d. 1961), Andrew Willison (d. c. 1944) and Edward Graham (b. 1914).

After training with James C Young and Archibald Dawson in the 1920s, and studying stone carving at GSA , Willison taught carving at the school, 1934-8.

As apprentices, they worked on several buildings in Glasgow; e.g. 200 St. Vincent Street (1927, sculpture completed, 1953), for which Willison executed the famous IOU capital for Dawson, and 81-107 Bothwell Street (1927-31), alongside apprentices from Italy and New Zealand.

As partners, from 1938, they produced sculpture for the Empire Exhibition, Bellahouston Park (1938, lost), and produced statues, carving and Stations of the Cross for churches by Jack Coia; with Mortimer the major contributor at St Columbkille's, Rutherglen (1940) St Kevin's, Bargeddy (1950); St Simon's, Partick (1956) and St Paul's, Shettleston (1958).

Mortimer also executed the St Aloysius College War Memorial, Glasgow (1948) and the relief portrait on the memorial to the Very Rev John White, South Leith Parish Church, Lothian (1952).

In 1953, the firm was employed to complete the figurative sculpture on J J Burnet 's 200 St Vincent Street. This they did with the two crouching figures above the entrance. These are, in fact, portraits of Archibald Dawson and his wife, Isa (archive photographs of the sculptors at work on the project are reproduced in McKenzie (2002) , pp. 375-6).

In 1955 they executed the Old College Gateway Plaque, High Street, to a design by A Graham Henderson, which marked the original site of Glasgow University (the plaque has since been moved to the south entrance of the University's main building at Gilmorehilll, c. 1997).

The firm closed after Mortimer's death in 1961.


Works in our Database:
#292 1: St Vincent Street (City Centre),
Former North British & Mercantile Insurance Company,
200 St Vincent Street
St Andrew, Allegorical Figures
and Associated Decorative Carving (1926-9; 1953)

Sculptors: AC Dawson (first phase);
Mortimer, Willison & Graham (second phase);
Architect: JJ Burnet
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