Edinburgh-born sculptor of imaginative figures and groups illustrative of literary subjects. He trained under Alexander Handyside Ritchie and Robert Scott Lauder at the Trustees’ School of Design, Edinburgh, establishing a studio in Glasgow in 1860. After visiting Rome, he settled in Liverpool, where he won the Wellington Monument competition with his architect brother Andrew Lawson (1864). From 1866 he lived in London but maintained contact with artists and patrons in Scotland, making a substantial contribution to the figurative sculpture on the City Chambers, Glasgow (1883–88), and executing a bronze panel representing The Arts over the entrance to Aberdeen Art Gallery (completed 1905). He produced statues of Lord Cochrane in Valparaiso (1874), and Joseph Pease in Darlington (1875), and monuments to Robert Burns in Ayr (1891), Belfast (1893), Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Melbourne, Australia (1904). Among his better known literary and narrative works are Jeanie Deans (n.d.) and Motherless (1901). Elected an Honorary Royal Scottish Academician in 1884, he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy, and the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts between 1862 and 1893. He died in Richmond, Surrey.
Bibliography: Building News, 9 May 1890. p. 672; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Leicestershire and Rutland, Liverpool, 2000, pp. 177–81; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Liverpool, Liverpool, 1997, pp. 25–28; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), Liverpool, 2018, vol. 1, pp. 83–84, vol. 2, pp. 508–09; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool, 2002, pp. 65–66, 153–54, 156–57; M.H. Spielmann, British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-day, London, Paris, New York and Melbourne, 1901, pp. 20–21; P. Usherwood et al, Public Sculpture of North-East England, Liverpool, 2000, pp. 232–34, 289–90; R.L. Woodward, ‘Nineteenth-Century Scottish Sculpture’, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Edinburgh, 1977, pt. 2, pp. 114–16.
Ray McKenzie 2018