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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Joseph Hayes (1869–1916)

Born in Aldershot, he was apprenticed to a stone carver in London before establishing his own practice as an architectural sculptor. He appears to have moved to Edinburgh before the turn of the twentieth century, and by 1910 had joined the Arts and Crafts collective at the Dean Studio on Lynedoch Place. Among his associates there was the architect Robert (later Sir Robert) Lorimer, who employed him as the overseer of the carving programme of the Thistle Chapel in St Giles Cathedral (1909–11). Hayes taught carving at Edinburgh College of Art (1907–08), and in 1912 gave a lecture to the Edinburgh Architectural Association entitled ‘Scale of Ornament in Architecture’, in which he advised carvers to ‘spring forward with renewed vigour’ on the basis of an intelligent appreciation of tradition. A good illustration of his own adherence to this precept was the decoration at the entrance to the now-demolished Labour Exchange on Lauriston Place (1913), in which he combined a traditional rendering of the royal arms of Scotland with a frieze of craftsmen’s tools replacing conventional foliage. He served as a corporal with the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) in the First World War and died at the Battle of the Somme in September 1916. He is buried in France.

Bibliography: E. Cumming, Hand, Heart and Soul: the Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland, Edinburgh, 2006, pp. 10, 144–45; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), Liverpool, 2018, vol. 1, pp. 318–19; Mapping Sculpture; Scotsman: (i) 12 December 1912, p. 6; (ii) 23 October 1913, p. 11; (iii) 3 September 1917, p. 8.

Ray McKenzie 2018