Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Galbraith & Winton
(fl. 1860-c. 1976)

Firm of marble cutters, sculptors, stone engravers, mosaic workers and ornamental plasterers, founded in 1860 by William Galbraith and David Winton, they are listed in Glasgow's POD 's from 1860, at 129 St Vincent Street, with a seperate marble workshop at 26 Kelvin Street.

William Galbraith was a monumental sculptor and originally worked in partnership with the builder William Neilson at 350 Argyll Street, 1837-59, before forming his partnership with Winton. A little known work signed by him is the large-scale monument to Norman Kerr in Glasgow Cathdral's New Burial Ground (1838).

He also worked as a builder and causwayer with a stake in Craigs Quarry in Townmill Road, by Bishopbriggs, from 1851, and lived there for a time.

David Winton was a marble cutter, born in 1830, the son of John Winton and Elizabeth Ferguson. Little is known about him, but his monument in Sighthill Cemetery provides some interesting details about his interests.

The dedicatory inscription reveals that he was a Freemason; his lodge being identified as St John No. 3 Bis, which was the principal lodge of the city's architects and sculptors.

His monument, carved in sandstone by Robert Gray, is overtly masonic in its design: an obelisk on a square, Egyptian style pedestal, with a relief of the universal symbol of freemasonry, the compass and dividers, carried by two winged cherub heads, symbolising the soul and enlightenment. These are carved in high relief on the front of the obelisk, between bands of stone suggestive of the rungs of Jacob's Ladder.

Also carved in relief, on the pedestal, is the Egyptian Uraeus, a winged solar disc with two snakes, symbolising the Gateway of the Soul to the Light.

Below this is a Victorian officer's sword, representing Winton's commission as a Lieutenant of the Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers, another organisation in which he mingled with Glasgow's prominent architects and businessmen. Winton died on 1 January 1862.

His contacts, and the contracts that they brought, established the firm as the city's principal supplier of carved marble, mosaic and tilework for houses, churches, public buildings, schools and commercial buildings.

Galbraith & Winton also made grindstones and were agents for Maw & Co's mosaic and flooring.

In later years the firm worked on various contracts for noted architects in Glasgow, such as:

The marble and alabaster staircases and mosaics in the City Chambers, for William Young (1887-88); the marble and tile work in Norwich Union Chambers, 125-7 St Vincent Street, for John Hutchison (1897-8); similar work in McGeoch's Warehouse, 28 West Campbell Street, for J J Burnet (1905-6, dem. 1971); and the marble staircase in the Grosvenor Restaurant, Gordon Street, for James Hoey Craigie (1907, dest. c. 1973).

For St Margaret's Episcopal Church, 351-5 Kilmarnock Road, designed by Peter MacGregor Chalmers, they produced a font with an angel holding a shell, derived from a work by Bertel Thorvaldsen (c. 1910-12).

An earlier 'tribute' to another important artist was the firm's donation of £10 to the fund for the marble Alexander 'Greek' Thomson Memorial Bust, carved by John Mossman , in 1875.

Elswhere in Britain they produced the marble work and mosaics for Adelaide House, London, the Russell Institute, Paisley (1926-7), Howich Hall, Northumberland, the Cunard Building, Liverpool (1913), and Parr's Bank, Manchester.

By the 1940s, Galbraith & Winton had become a Limited Company, and had moved to 48 Balnairn Street. Advertising themselves as 'Contractors for marble and decorative stonework, tiles, mosaics, slate, glass, granite, terazzo and jointless flooring', the firm later worked from premises in Deanside Road, Hillington, until it closed around 1976.


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