William Shirreffs

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Panel by William Shirrefs, Chambers Memorial, Edinburgh
Gladstone Memorial, Edinburgh - lower figures by Shirreffs

William Shirreffs (1846-23 June 1902) was a Scottish sculptor in the 19th century.

His two principal claims to fame is as one of the chosen sculptors of the figures depicting characters from the novels of Sir Walter Scott on the Scott Monument on Princes Street in Edinburgh and for the figures on the north entrance porch of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.


He was born in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, to James Shirreffs and his wife, Mary Wagrel, in 1846 and was baptised in the same parish on 14 April 1846.

He studied at Glasgow School of Art under William Mossman from 1870 to 1873 winning a free scholarship in 1872.

In 1877 he opened his own studio at 108 West Regent Street and in 1887 opened his own foundry at 261 West George Street, probably with his brother, Charles Gordon Shirreffs (1857-1913), who was a brass-founder.

His bronze and copper-work are considerably more refined than his stone carving.

He worked closely with the architect J J Burnet on several projects. He also did co-operative works with other sculptors such as Sir George Frampton, John Rhind and Pittendreigh MacGillivray.

He exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1896.

For the Kelvingrove Art Gallery he visited Paris with Frampton to study sculpture on contemporary French buildings and the French influence can clearly be seen.[1]

He died at his home, Lochwinnoch in Paisley on 23 June 1902 and is buried in Glasgow’s Western Necropolis.

Principal Public Works[edit]

See [1]

Portrait Busts[edit]

  • James Gardner Laing RSW, artist (1894)
  • Robert Phillips (1896)
  • John L Toole, actor (1896)
  • David Gauld, artist (1896)

References and External Links[edit]

  1. ^ a b Webmaster, Tim Gardner -. "William Shirreffs (1846-1902), sculptor, a biography". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  2. ^ "The Character Statues". Retrieved 20 January 2017.