Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Sir Robert Rowand Anderson

Edinburgh based, he formed a number of partnerships throughout his long career, including one with Sir George Washington Browne , 1881-5, and became one of the most important architects in Scotland.

Much of his finest work is in Edinburgh where he produced extensions to Edinburgh University, including its dome (1874-87); the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (1884-9) and the McEwan Hall (1897).

In Glasgow, he designed Govan Old Parish Church (1882-8), which was built without its steeple and extensive sculpture scheme; the Central Station Hotel, Gordon Street (1882-4); additions to Pollok House (1890-1908); the Pearce Institute, Govan Road (1902-1906); and Pollokshaws Burgh Buildings, Pollokshaws Road, for which he re-created the tower of the Old College (1895-8).

The Pearce Institute and Pollokshaws Burgh Building are his most elaborately sculpted Glasgow buildings; the former including a three-masted galleon made by workers at the nearby Fairfield shipyard; the latter featuring a number of Masonic symbols and Renaissance motifs by an unidentified carver.

Elsewhere, he worked on the restoration of Jedburgh Abbey (1875) and Paisley Abbey (1898-1907) and designed Mount Stuart, Bute (1878-1902).

Known as the 'Nestor of Scottish architects', he received his knighthood from King Edward VII and was later awarded the RIBA Gold Medal, 1916.


  • Gomme & Walker ;
  • Glendinning et al. ;
  • Williamson et al.
    Works in our Database:
    1: Govan Road (Govan),
    Pearce Institute, 840 Govan Road
    Galleon and Carved Ornaments (1902-6)
    Sculptor: unknown; Architect: RR Anderson
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