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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

James Ritchie (fl. 1834–1855)

Edinburgh sculptor, who occupied studios successively at St John’s Hill, Lothian Road and West Maitland Street. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Scottish Academy, showing mostly portrait busts and narrative works, but also occasional designs for monuments. He played an important role in the development of the Scott Monument, Edinburgh, carving the statue of The Last Minstrel, and designing a series of figurines to be added to the model to test the impact of a sculpture programme on its overall appearance. In much recent literature, including Rupert Gunnis’s Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660–1851 (1968), W.T. Johnston’s Dictionary of Scottish Sculptors (1993–95) and Peter McEwan’s Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture (2004), The Last Minstrel is incorrectly attributed to John Ritchie, the brother of Alexander Handyside Ritchie, to whom James may have been related.

Bibliography: Edinburgh City Archives, SL254, ‘Scott Monument Minute Book 1840–44’, 30 November 1841; C.B. de Laperierre, The Royal Scottish Academy Exhibitors 1829–1990 … (4 vols), Wiltshire, 1991; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), Liverpool, 2018, vol. 2, pp. 253-55; The Scotsman, 16 November 1844, p. 3; R.L. Woodward, ‘Nineteenth Century Scottish Sculpture’, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Edinburgh, 1977, pp. 207–08.

Ray McKenzie 2018