Skip to main content

Public Statues and Sculpture Association

William Francis Beattie (1886–1918)

Born in Hawick, Scotland, the son of the sculptor and plaster worker Thomas Beattie (1861–1933), he was educated at George Watson’s School (now George Watson’s College), Edinburgh, and Edinburgh College of Art. He was associated with the town planner and biologist Patrick Geddes, for whom he constructed a model of the University of Edinburgh building (now lost) for inclusion in his ‘Masque of Medieval and Modern Learning’ in 1912, and from c.1912 to 1914 was active in the Arts and Crafts collective at Dean Studios, Lynedoch Place, Edinburgh. He designed the relief panel, St George and the Dragon (carved by John Marshall), for St George’s School for Girls, Ravelston, Edinburgh (1914). His most important surviving work is the bronze equestrian Common Riding Memorial in Hawick, Scottish Borders, which celebrates the routing by a Hawick youth of a band of English marauders in the ‘Hornshole Incident’ of 1514. It was unveiled in June 1914, and within a few weeks Beattie was mobilised to serve in the First World War as a lieutenant in the Yeomanry. He was awarded the Military Cross for bravery, and died at a Casualty Clearing Station in October 1918.

Bibliography: W.T. Johnston, Dictionary of Scottish Artists (c.2000), Scottish National Library, ref CD-ROM.585, citing Anon., Hawick and the War: a pictorial record (Hawick: Hawick News Office, n.d. [1915-19]); R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), Liverpool, 2018, vol. 1, pp. 141–42.

Ray McKenzie 2018