Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
John Marshall
(1888-1952)
Born in Edinburgh, he trained as a stone carver at ECA whilst serving his apprenticeship.

As an architectural carver he worked on several important buildings in Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester; working for architects of the calibre of Sir Robert Lorimer and Sir John James Burnet.

Carving directly onto their facades from models produced by some of the best Scottish Sculptors of the 20th century, Phyllis Bone, Benno Schotz, Pilkington Jackson, Alexander Carrick and Hew Lorimer, the buildings he worked on include:

The Scotsman Building, North Bridge, Edinburgh (1899-1902); a doorway at Lennoxlove (1908); carvings in the Thistle Chapel, St Giles’ Cathedral (1909-11); a chimneypiece for Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland (c. 1915); and St Patrick’s RC Church, Cowgate, Edinburgh (1928-9).

His most important commissions in Edinburgh were for the animals and heraldry on the Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle (1924-7) and the heraldry on St Andrew’s House, Calton Hill (1936-9).

Marshall’s only recorded work in Glasgow was the carving of the Heraldic Lions on the garden gates at Pollok House, from models by Hew Lorimer (1950). A photograph of Marshall carving one of the lions is reproduced in Elizabeth M Johnstone’s Scots Magazine article, Carved With Pride (August 2005).

He also executed war memorials and monuments for cemeteries, such as Inverness War Memorial; the Archibald Gifford-Moir Memorial, Alloa; and the monument to Marshall’s son, William Marshall, in Drum Brae Cemetery, Corstorphine, Edinburgh (1949).

His architectural sculpture outside Edinburgh includes work on Sheffield Central Library; Leeds Municipal Buildings; Birmingham Fire Station and Manchester Cathedral.

Marshall also exhibited small-scale pieces at the RSA : Eve (1935); Meditation (1937); Boy Fishing (1939), and Dawn and Evolution (1940).

Sources:

  • Elizabeth M Johnstone: Carved With Pride, Scots Magazine, August 2005 (ills);
  • Gifford et al. ;
  • Robert Ferguson (2001), Pollok House, NTS Guidebook (ills);

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