James Pittendrigh Macgillivray

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The grave of James Pittendrigh MacGillivray, Gogar Churchyard
MacGillivray's sculpted signature
The William Gladstone Monument, Edinburgh. An example of MacGillivray's work.
Statue of Burns in Irvine

Dr. James Pittendrigh MacGillivray (1856 - 29 April 1938) was a prominent Scottish sculptor. He was also a keen amateur poet, musician and artist. He was born in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, the son of a sculptor, and studied under William Brodie and John Mossman. His works include public statues of Robert Burns in Irvine, Lord Byron in Aberdeen, the 3rd Marquess of Bute in Cardiff, John Knox in Edinburgh's St Giles Cathedral, and William Ewart Gladstone in Coates Crescent Gardens, Edinburgh.

His work was influenced greatly by Pictish designs, and these are on display in Perth. He is sometimes linked with the Scottish Renaissance movement. Hugh MacDiarmid was amongst his admirers.

Alloway village hall contains his sculpture of Robert Burns[1].

MacGillivray also published two volumes of verse which draw on Doric dialect and earlier forms of Lowland Scots - Pro Patria in 1915 and Bog Myrtle and Peat Reek in 1922. He became a member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1901 and was appointed the King's Sculptor in Ordinary for Scotland in 1921.

A member of Glasgow Art Club for over fifty years, closely associating himself with the Glasgow Boys, on the evening of 28 October 1932 the Club hosted a dinner in his honour (with fellow honoree fellow club member James B. Anderson ARSA.) [1] He was also a co-founder of "The Scottish Arts Review".

He was a Scottish nationalist, and was associated with Hugh MacDiarmid's Scottish Renaissance movement.

He moved to Edinburgh in 1894 causing the focus of his work to move from Glasgow to Edinburgh. At this time he was living at "Ravelston Elms" on Murrayfield Road.[2]

He is buried in the tiny Gogar Kirkyard, close to the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters at Gogarburn, with his wife Frieda who died in 1910. The grave is of his own design, depicting them side by side. Their daughter Ina MacGillivray (1887-1917) and Ehrna (1892-1966) are buried with them.

memorial to Mrs Oliphant in St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh by Macgillivray


Pupils include sculptor Ottilie Maclaren Wallace

Notable works[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Glasgow Herald article 29 October 1932 ‘’Glasgow Art Club Two Members Honoured’’ Retrieved 2011-08-17
  2. ^ Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1900-1901
  3. ^ Tim Gardner - Webmaster. "William Shirreffs (1846-1902), sculptor, a biography". glasgowsculpture.com. Retrieved 27 May 2015.