William Reid Dick. ‘The Glasca loon he works sae smart’. A Selection of his Public Sculpture
by Dr Dennis Wardleworth
Born in 1878 into a working-class family in the Gorbals, Glasgow, Reid Dick became one of the most successful and honoured sculptors in Britain of the early twentieth century, fading into obscurity after the end of the Second World War. This paper follows his rise and decline by examining his public sculpture, much of which is still to be seen in London and elsewhere in Britain and around the world.
Dennis Wardleworth spent most of his professional life as a theoretical physicist. After retirement from science, he gained a BA in art history at the Open University, followed by a PhD at the Southampton Institute, now Solent University. His thesis was ‘Building the Modern Corporation: Corporate Art Patronage in Interwar Britain’, the focus of which was the headquarters buildings in London of the new giant businesses, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, later British Petroleum, Imperial Chemical Industries, and Unilever. He followed that with conference papers and a book on the sculptor William Reid Dick, who provided sculpture for Unilever. He then researched the architecture of Thomas Tait, who was at the Glasgow School of Art with Reid Dick. He presented a conference paper at Melbourne University on Tait’s most significant work, the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and later a paper on the bridges of the Dorman Long Company, on many of which Tait also worked, at a conference at Ironbridge in Shropshire.