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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

James Barr (1911–1969)

Sculptor born in Glasgow. At the age of fifteen he became an apprentice to Benno Schotz, who claims to have taken him on because he was so impressed by his handwriting. He attended evening classes at Glasgow School of Art, and later enrolled as a full-time student under Archibald Dawson, winning numerous prizes, including the prestigious Haldane Scholarship. In 1938 he became a member of staff, but cutbacks during the Second World War forced him to seek employment as a riveter until he was able to return to the School as an assistant to Benno Schotz in 1945. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Scottish Academy from 1934 until his death, and was elected ARSA in 1963. For the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, he carved a series of relief panels – Signing, Dictation, Braille, Writing, Divine Inspiration and Letter-carving – on the north and south wings (1953–55). The V&A Dundee has the maquettes for Signing and Braille (A.11-2016).

Bibliography: P. McEwan, The Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture, Ballater, Aberdeenshire, 2004; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), Liverpool, 2018, vol. 1, pp. 153–54; B. Schotz, Bronze in my Blood, Edinburgh, 1981, p. 106.

Ray McKenzie 2018