Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Benno Schotz
(1891-1984)
Born in Arensburg, Estonia, he studied engineering at Darmstadt then joined his brother in Glasgow in 1912.

He continued his studies at Glasgow Royal Technical College, 1912-14, and, whilst working as a draughtsman at John Brown's shipyard, he attended evening classes at GSA .

He exhibited sculpture at the RGIFA in 1917, became President of the Society of Sculptors and Painters, Glasgow, 1920, and established himself as a professional sculptor in 1923.

A protégé of architect John Keppie, and influenced by Rodin and Epstein , he executed many portrait busts in bronze, including one of Keppie (1923), and the portrait medallion to playwright O H Mavor ( James Bridie ) in the Citizen's Theatre, Glasgow (1956).

Representing some of his many commissions for architectural sculpture are:

The figures of Painting and Sculpture on the Mercat Building, Glasgow Cross (1928-9); the sculpture on the Bank of Scotland, 235 Sauchiehall Street (1929-31) and on the Stenhouse Building, 145 St Vincent Street (1931-2), which has since had a large relief of a winged lion (identical to those on the gateposts) removed from above its doorway.

His ideal, public and ecclesiastical work includes:

The Partick Camera Club Trophy (1925); the Keir Hardie Monument, Old Cumnock (1939); Ex Terra, Glenrothes (1965); The Psalmist, in the T J Honeyman Memorial Garden, Kelvingrove Park (1972); and a number of Stations of the Cross for churches by Jack Coia.

He succeeded Archibald Dawson as Head of Ceramics at GSA , 1938-60.

Elected ARSA , 1933, RSA , 1937, he exhibited work throughout Britain and internationally, and was appointed Her Majesty's Sculptor in Ordinary for Scotland, 1963.

His other honours include an Hon. LL. D. from the University of Strathclyde (formerly the Glasgow Royal Technical College) in 1969, and was accorded the Freedom of the City of Glasgow in 1981.

Publishing his autobiography Bronze in my Blood The Memoirs of Benno Schotz in 1981, he was the only Glasgow sculptor of note to do so.

His Moses the Sculptor (1949) was exhibited at the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988, as a posthumous tribute to him.

Sources:

  • Schotz 1981 ;
  • Honeyman & Keppie Job Books 1920-28;
  • McEwan ;
  • MacKay ;
  • McKenzie (1999) ;
  • GH [Obit], 12 October, 1984
  • Glasgow Scrapbook [O H Mavor], no. 28, p. 67;
  • West End News and Partick Advertiser, 16 November, 1973,
  • [ibid], 29 March, 1974,
  • [ibid], 12 July, 1974;
  • Murray .

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