Pilkington Jackson

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Statue of Robert the Bruce by Pilkington Jackson, near the Bannockburn Heritage Centre
The grave of Pilkington Jackson and family next to his parents' grave, Lasswade, Midlothian.

Charles d’Orville Pilkington Jackson ARSA, FRBS, FRSA (11 October 1887 – 20 September 1973) was a British sculptor prominent in Scotland in the 20th Century. Throughout his career he worked closely with the architect Sir Robert Lorimer. He is most noteworthy for his creation of one of Scotland’s iconic landmarks, which appears in much promotional material about Scotland: the statue of Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn.

Early life[edit]

Charles d'Orville was born at Garlenick near Grampound, Cornwall the son of Ethel Katie D'Orville.[1] She married Louis Pilkington Jackson soon after, who may be presumed to be Charles' father, leading him to adopt his name in later life.

Charles attended the Edinburgh Institution from 1905 and the newly established Edinburgh College of Art in 1907, studying design and sculpture.[2] He graduated in 1910 and received a travelling scholarship of £100, which he used to visit the British School in Rome. Whilst in Rome he worked with Giacomo Boni on the rebuilding of the Arch of Titus.[2]

Career[edit]

In 1911, on his return to Scotland, he established himself in a studio with William MacDonald, a bronze founder. During World War 1 he served with the British Army as a subaltern in the Royal Field Artillery and the Intelligence Corps in Egypt and Palestine, being Mentioned in Dispatches.[2]

After the war he received numerous commissions to design war memorials and these extend across the whole width and breadth of Scotland. He was appointed as "supervising sculptor" for the Scottish National War Memorial, which was planned and built within Edinburgh Castle between 1919 and 1927.[1] He was also commissioned to create numerous memorials to famous Scots, including tableaux at the David Livingstone Centre, and a memorial to Elsie Inglis, on which he collaborated with Sir Frank Mears.[2] In 1929 he went on holiday to Sweden with Robert Lorimer[3] and visited the eminent Swedish sculptor Carl Milles whom he acknowledged as a great influence on his work.[2]

In the Second World War, although being far beyond the age of conscription at 52, he again joined the army, this time serving in Scotland as a Gun Operations Room Officer for coastal defence guns. He had an extremely long working career leading to his most famous commission, the statue of Robert the Bruce being executed in 1964 at the age of 76. The mounted statue of Robert the Bruce forms the focal point of the memorial to the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn, and is sited to face southwards, from which direction the English army approached. The statue and monument are listed at category A, and are included as one of the 60 DoCoMoMo Key Scottish Monuments of the post-war period.[4][5] A copy of this sculpture stands at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Canada, and an alternative version of the monument, showing Bruce on a rearing horse, was later installed at the Chivas Brothers Distillery in Paisley.[1]

Pilkington Jackson exhibited regularly at the Royal Scottish Academy, and was elected as an academician in 1956. He also served on the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland, and taught at Edinburgh College of Art in the late 1920s.

Death[edit]

Pilkington died in Edinburgh on the 20 September 1973.[2] His body was cremated and its ashes were buried at Lasswade Cemetery, at the North end of the modern section. He designed both his own gravestone (following the death of his wife, Eve Cornish Dening, 1885-1951), and that of his parents, which stands alongside. His son, Richard D'Orville Pilkington Jackson (1921-2009), was interred in the same grave.

Principal works[edit]

Alloa War Memorial (1925)
Haddington War Memorial
Bust of James Clerk Maxwell by Charles d’Orville Pilkington Jackson. Located in Marischal College, Aberdeen, Scotland
Foam (1938), commissioned for the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow, now at Greenbank Garden, Clarkston

Minor Works of Interest[edit]

The unusual monument to a plane crash, St. Serfs Church, Ferry Rd Edinburgh, by Pilkington Jackson
  • Monument to John Charles Fraser Gibson, killed in a plane crash in Mombasa 1945, St. Serfs Church, Ferry Road, Edinburgh (1946)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Nisbet, Gary. "Charles d'Orville Pilkington Jackson (1887-1973)". Glasgow - City of Sculpture. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Charles D'Orville Pilkington Jackson ARSA, FRBS, ARBA". Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951. University of Glasgow. 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  3. ^ Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Robert Lorimer
  4. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Bannockburn, rotunda, memorial cairn, flagpole and statue of King Robert I  (Category A) (LB49860)". Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  5. ^ Glendinning, Miles, ed. (1997). Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-1975. Tuckwell Press. p. 153. ISBN 1-898410-33-X.
  6. ^ Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh by Gifford McWilliam and Walker
  7. ^ National Library of Scotland Inventory Acc. 7445
  8. ^ ""Gerard Baldwin Brown"". ed.ac.uk.

External links[edit]