Phyllis Bone

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Phyllis Bone
Phyllis Mary Bone

15 February 1894
Died12 July 1972 (1972-07-13) (aged 78)
EducationEdinburgh College of Art
Known forAnimal sculptor
Elephant roundel by Phyllis Bone on Ashworth Laboratories, Kings Buildings, Edinburgh
Aardvark by Phyllis Bone

Phyllis Mary Bone RSA (15 February 1894 – 12 July 1972)[1] was a 20th-century Scottish sculptor. She has the particular claim to fame as being the first female member of the Royal Scottish Academy.[2] Although primarily the creator of small figurines her works include several highly prestigious commissions, at national level.


She was born in Hornby, Lancashire, the daughter of Dr Douglas Mayhew Bone and his wife Mary Campbell Smith.[3]

She was educated at St George School for Girls in Edinburgh then trained as a sculptor at Edinburgh College of Art (1912–18) under Alexander Carrick, Pilkington Jackson and Percy Portsmouth. She received a Diploma in Sculpture in 1918. Whilst a student at Edinburgh College of Art, Bone resided at 15 Blacket Place, Edinburgh. During this time she also twice travelled to Paris, under a travel scholarship, to train specifically as an animal sculptor under Edouard Navellier.[1] This travel scholarship, & tutoring by Navellier, was one which her fellow Edinburgh College Art alumni, the sculptor Mary Syme Boyd, would also undertake over ten years later between 1929-33.[4]

Bone served in the Women's Legion as a driver during the First World War.[5]

In Scotland, Bone quickly gained fame as an animal sculptor. At first she worked within the Holyrood Pottery but quickly became independent. She took up residence first at 5 Alva Street in Edinburgh where she lived until 1935.

Bone was elected an associate member of the Royal Scottish Academy (1939) (nominated by Benno Schotz) and was the first woman to ever become a full member (1940).

Originally she shared studios with the Scottish Colourists at the Albert Gallery, 24 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh. She latterly largely worked at the Dean studios in Dean Village (1935–50). From 1946 onwards she began spending more time in Galloway, taking a second home in Newton Stewart whilst in Edinburgh thereafter only retaining a small basement flat at 7 Randolph Cliff. In 1950 she left Edinburgh permanently and joined an artists’ colony on the Solway Firth, living thereafter at Hillview, Barrhill Road, Kirkcudbright. She died in Dumfries Hospital and is buried in Kirkcudbright.

Her portrait (by Robert Sivell) is held in the Gracefield Collection in Dumfries.

Public works[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Phyllis Mary Bone ARSA, RSA - Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951". 14 July 1972. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Browse the complete listings..." Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  3. ^ Modern Scottish Women: Painters and Sculptors 1885-1965 ISBN 978-1-906270-89-6
  4. ^ Strang, Alice (2015). Modern Scottish Women: Painters & Sculptors 1885-1965. Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland. pp. 37–38. ISBN 9781906270896.
  5. ^ Gray, Sarah,. British women artists : a biographical dictionary of 1,000 women artists in the British decorative arts. United Kingdom. ISBN 1911121634. OCLC 1085975377.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh, by Gifford McWilliam and Walker ISBN 9780140710687
  7. ^ a b c Tim Gardner. "Phyllis Bone (1894-1972), sculptor, a biography". Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  8. ^ "St John's Kirk of Perth Feature Page on Undiscovered Scotland". Retrieved 21 April 2016.

External links[edit]