William Kennedy (1836-1899)

dr blog kennedy
Figure 1. William Kennedy, © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections

William Kennedy is best known as a successful businessman and for playing a major role in the fledgling shale oil industry of central Scotland in the mid-nineteenth century. He bequeathed one painting to Glasgow, The Sacrifice of Marcus Curtius by Luigo Garzi, in 1899.

Garzi, Luigi, 1638-1721; The Sacrifice of Marcus Curtius
Figure2. The Sacrifice of Marcus Curtius 1715-20 by Luigi Garzi 1638-1721                                          © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (

William was born in Biggar, South Lanarkshire in 1836 to William, an innkeeper and Mary Scott.(1) Little is known of his early years but he moved to Glasgow when aged sixteen and joined the firm of P & R Fleming, ironmongers which had branches at 29 Argyle Street and 18 Stockwell Street. He then moved to Henry Field and Son of Buchanan Street.(2)

dr blog kennedy
Figure 3. Henry Field & Son, advert from Post Office Glasgow Directories 1859-60, Mitchell Library

The first gas lighting in Glasgow was introduced in 1805 and by the mid-nineteenth century there was huge demand for gas heating and lighting in homes and Fields was well placed for the fitting of pipes, meters and other equipment. The city’s gas manufacturing and supply industry was placed under municipal control in 1869. While at Fields mineral oil was becoming a popular fuel for lighting and William assisted with its development with enthusiasm. He ensured that the best oil lamps on the market were stocked in the shop and he promoted the sale of lighting oil all over Scotland and the North of Ireland.(3)

William married Margaret Law from Linlithgow in 1860 (4) and they had three girls and a boy (also William). They were living at 39 Devon Street, Glasgow in 1861(5) and lived in Govan and Pollokshields areas for many years, and were residing at a detached villa at 32 Newark Drive in Pollokshields by 1891.(6)

James ‘paraffin’ Young was the pre-eminent ‘Father of the Oil Industry ‘ who succeeded in producing, by distilling cannel coal at a low heat, a fluid which resembled paraffin wax and in 1851 his Bathgate works became the first commercial oil-works in the world.(7) William Kennedy succeeded Young in continuing to develop manufacturing processes for new products and markets.

In 1861 William joined West Calder Oil Company and stayed with them for seven years producing paraffin. He then became actively associated with Oakbank Oil Company, West Lothian and was general manager until 1877. In that year The Broxburn Oil Company was formed for the purpose of acquiring, from Robert Bell,  his rights as lessee of the oil, shales and other minerals of Lord Cardross, at Broxburn in Linlithgowshire. Bell was a pioneer of the shale industry and was the first in Scotland to distil oil from shale.  William was appointed Managing Director of Broxburn Oil Company on its foundation, at a time when fierce competition from USA and Russia made life difficult for many businesses. He remained as its managing Director till his death in 1899. The Broxburn works were the first to challenge the scale of Youngs Addiewell Works and it was equipped to undertake all processes necessary to transform shale into a full range of oil and wax products, including the manufacture of candles. The works site covered an area of 250 acres and employed approximately 1700 workers. The modern equipment enabled the company to stay ahead of the competition for the next ten years. (8)

Figure 4. Broxburn Oil Works, circa 1910. Creative Common Licence. c. Almond Valley Heritage Trust. Creative Commons Licence © Almond Valley Heritage Trust,

Prior to 1876 William was appointed  Secretary to the Scottish Mineral Oil Association and was subsequently elected as its President. He was also a director of Niddrie and Benhar Coal Company Limited, the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company Limited and the National Insurance Company of Great Britain. He also entered local politics as a county councillor for Linlithgowshire and was a Justice of the Peace for the same county.(9)

In the 1890s  William moved to 21 Huntly Gardens, a fine townhouse in Glasgow’s west end.(10) In ailing health he died on 20th May 1899 leaving a significant estate of £44,600.(11) In his Will he left the painting The Sacrifice of Marcus Curtius 1715-20 to Glasgow.(12) At the time of his death it was attributed to Nicholas Poussin, an influential French baroque artist. It is now attributed to Luigi Garzi who was influenced by Poussin’s classical style while in Rome. The scene depicts the young Roman who sacrificed himself to the gods of Hades. 

This painting was previously owned by John Bell who, with his brother Matthew, founded J and M P Bell & Co, the largest pottery in Scotland in the mid-nineteenth century and which produced a wide range of high-quality products for the home market and for export. John amassed a huge collection of paintings and objects during his lifetime for North Park House, which he had built adjacent to the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow (later used as the home of the BBC). He died intestate in 1880 and his collection of around 800 paintings was sold at auctions in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. The sales catalogues list paintings by Titian, Rubens, Caravaggio, Canaletto, Raphael, and many more apparently by world=renowned artists. However, many of his paintings are now thought to be copies, and some fakes, but he did achieve sales of £50,000 in a struggling market.(13) William Kennedy may have purchased The Sacrifice of Marcus Curtius at one of these auctions and it is one of only a few objects to remain in Glasgow from Bell’s collection.



(1) births, 793/000070 0296 Kelso

(2) Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography  “©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections”

(3) The Baillie, vol XLV111 No 1237, July 1896, “©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections”

(4), marriages, 644/100175

(5), census 1861 644/933/8

(6), census 1891 644/14037/00014

(7), Scottish Engineering hall of Fame/James Young

(8) Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography  “©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections”

(9) The Baillie, vol XLV111 No 1237, July 1896, “©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections”


(11) Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography  “©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections”

(12), sc36/51/122 Glasgow Sheriff Court Wills

(13) Mitchell Library, Sales Catalogues John Bell Jan 1881, “©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections”

Christopher Bell Sherriff OBE TD (1896-1967)

Donor – Christopher Bell Sherriff OBE TD (1896-1967)

The Painting

Highland Croft by Alexander Fraser (2)
Fig. 1 A Highland Croft by  Alexander Fraser RSA( 1827-1899) Acc 2552 © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection

This painting was presented to Glasgow by Christopher Bell Sherriff (CBS) on 18th March 1946.1 There does not appear to be any record of the painting being exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy or in any other exhibition.2

There is reference to an oil painting by Alexander Fraser in the inventory of Carronvale House, the family home of the Sherriff family in Larbert, Stirlingshire, from about 1857.This inventory appears in the trust papers of John Bell Sherriff, grandfather of  CBS who died in 1896. Unfortunately the painting is not named but is hung in the dining room.3 Again, on the death of George Sherriff, father of CBS, who died in 1908, an oil painting by Alexander Fraser appears in the inventory of Carronvale House. This time the painting is given the name, Moorland Scene and again is hung in the dining room. There does not appear to be any record of a painting by that name executed by Alexander Fraser . Looking at the painting one could speculate that whoever compiled the inventory ,a lawyer’s clerk perhaps with little specialist knowledge, might give our painting that name as that is what he saw, rather than the name given by the artist.4

Were the Sherriff family art collectors? The two inventories of the contents of Carronvale House refer to many oil paintings, watercolours and drawings scattered throughout the house. These include works by James Faed, W.C Faed and Horatio McCulloch as well as books on painting in various rooms in the house. George Sherriff, father of CBS, was also a talented amateur photographer, with a “Photography Room” complete with equipment in Carronvale House. CBS’s sister Flora was a talented amateur artist and contributed to a book on the local area.5 Whether or not the many paintings in the house were merely the “wall furniture” normal in the home of a wealthy family at that time one cannot say for certain but it appears that at least some of the family had more than a passing interest in art.6

The Sherriff Family Origins

The Sherriff family originally came from East Lothian. CBS’s great-great grandfather, Thomas Sherriff, a wheel and cartwright, had come to the Carron area in 1760, attracted by the work on offer from the Carron Ironworks which had opened in 1759.7 On 12th December 1861 Thomas married Marion Cowie at Bothkennar. Between 1762 and 1780 they had four sons and three daughters. The eldest son was George (1768-1843), great-grandfather of CBS. George was born in Stenhousemuir on 8th May.8

George Sherriff (1768-1843)

George appears to have been the one who started the Sherriffs on the road to prosperity. He went to work for the Carron Iron Company at an early age. This was a period of rapid technological development in the science of engineering and in particular in new developments and improvements in the steam engine and when Scotland was producing many of its best inventors. George must have done well, as at the age of 18 he went to work for the firm of Boulton and Watt at the Soho works in Birmingham. There he stayed for two years learning the trade of engineering.9

In 1789 the engineer John Rennie was asked to erect a Boulton and Watt engine in Copenhagen and George Sherriff assisted with the installation on site. By this time there were many Scots  working in Russia, employed by the Imperial Government and headed by Charles Gascoigne who had been poached from the Carron Iron Company.10  It had been Admiral Greig, an admiral in the Russian imperial navy, who had first suggested the employment of Scottish engineers to Catherine the Great.11 George saw opportunity here and turned up in the autumn of 1789 at the foundry in Petrozavodsk, where the Scots had the task of improving production. George worked for and with Gascoigne until the end of 1792 when he was released with a testimonial to his satisfactory work. He remained in Russia ” gradually amassing a substantial sum of money”.  While still in the service of Russia on 12th September 1792 he married Sarah Roper of Kirkaldy, the daughter of one of Gascoigne’s original artisans. Sadly Sarah died on 26th September 1793 at Petrozavodsk,shortly after giving birth to a daughter, also Sarah.12

George came to the notice of the Russian Royal family when in 1797 Gascoigne sent him to St Petersburgh to install a steam engine at the Royal Mint. Sherriff is mentioned in a letter from Rennie in September 1799 as a “man skilled in the construction of steam engines which he has completed at the Bank mint.13” Tsar Alexander 1st gave George a tortoise-shell snuff box with his portrait on the lid. Tsar Nicholas gave him a silver medallion. In 1799 George returned to Britain and in 1804 opened the Dalderse Iron Foundry near Falkirk. He acquired two more acres of the lands of Dalderse close to the foundry and built Abbotshaugh House. 14 George took an active part in the local community, a habit which appears to have been passed down the following generations of the Sherriff family. He helped to raise funds for Grahamston Subscription School, completed in 1810, and contributed to the building of a new steeple in Falkirk. In 1806, already a mason, he became a member of Falkirk Masonic Lodge.15

On 5th February 1808 George married for the second time. His bride was Margaret Bell of Camelon, daughter of a prosperous merchant John Bell. Six children were born at Abbotshaugh, three girls and three boys, one of whom ,John Bell Sherriff grandfather of our donor CBS, was born in 1821.The Dalderse Foundry was not a success and  had to close in 1810,many of the workers moving to the new Falkirk Iron Works.

Around 1823 George returned to Russia, presumably to work for the Russian Government again. From that time Abbotshaugh seems to have been occupied by members of his wife’s family, the Bells.16 Margaret Bell died in St Petersburg on April 1826, giving birth to the youngest son Alexander. She was thirty- nine. George died on 10th December 1843 aged 75. He is buried in Russia at Tautilo Deravino.17

John Bell Sherriff (1821-1896) (JBS)

The UK Census for 1851 tells us that our donor’s  grandfather was living with his mother’s family the Bells at Abbotshaugh House, was 20 years old and a medical student. He abandoned medicine to join his uncle Christopher Bell in business in Glasgow. He later started up in business on his own account. According to the 1849-50 Glasgow Post Office Directory JBS was a merchant and agent for A&J Dawson, St Magdalene Distillery Linlithgow and in the 1851 UK Census he was a wine and spirit merchant, living in Westercommon Craighall Road, Glasgow. The 1854-5 Glasgow Post Office Directory lists JBS as merchant and agent for St Magdalene Distillery Linlithgow and Lochindaal Distillery  Islay with offices at 9 Virginia Street and bonded stores in St Andrews Lane.

In 1854 in Stepney, London, JBS married Flora Taylor who was born in Islay. She was the daughter of Colin Taylor who had been a general retail merchant in Killarow, Bowmore,Islay. 18 In 1859 he bought Lochindaal Distillery at Port Charlotte, Islay.19

Whether the connection with the Taylors on Islay influenced the purchase of Lochindaal one can only speculate. The Taylor family were also owners of the Lochhead distillery in Campbeltown (William Taylor & Company) and JBS went into partnership with John Taylor.20 When John Taylor died in 1857 JBS became the   surviving partner.21

Carronvale House-Falkirk Local history society
Fig. 2 Carronvale House  Larbert. © Falkirk Local History Society

JBS bought the Carronvale Estate and the residence Carronvale House, Larbert Stirlingshire in 1857. He also purchased the neighbouring estates of Stenhouse and Kerse(on which Grangemouth stands today). By the late 19th century many of these estates were being feud for housing and other urban development. He also bought the country estate of Kingairloch in Loch Linnhe.22

The couple had two children, George (b.1856) and Margaret (b.1857).23They were very involved in the local community. JBS was honorary president Local Liberal Association.24 He supported The Larbert Asylum-Scottish Institution for Imbecile Children25 and was a member of the Glasgow and Stirling Sons of the Rock Society.26 This was a philanthropic organisation founded by a group of Glasgow businessmen who lived in Stirlingshire and aimed to help those in the county of Stirling who were in dire need. The society still exists today.27

By the time of his death in 1896 JBS had also begun to invest in sugar plantations and rum distilling in Jamaica.One such plantation was Long Pond in the parish of Trelawney .He set up a company JB Sherriff &Company (Jamaica) Ltd) to manage the Jamaica end of the business.28 This was managed in Jamaica by a George Taylor but whether  this was a member of his wife’s family it has not been possible to establish as Taylor was a well-established name among Jamaican planters. 29

JBS set up a trust to manage his affairs. The trust papers reveal the extent to which JBS had built up the family wealth and business. There is page after page of investments in railways in the USA, South America, mines and shipping companies such as the Glen Line. The list of properties owned in Glasgow is similarly impressive. One example is the land in George Street Glasgow on which the first building of what is now Strathclyde University stands. This was first the West of Scotland Technical College later Royal College.30

George Sherriff  (1856-1908)

George, our donor’s father, was born in Pollokshields, Glasgow, where his parents appear to have been living before they moved to Carronvale House. 31 He was educated at Blairlodge School in Polmont now the site of Polmont Young Offenders Institution32 and then, according to the 1871  UK Census, at Rugby School. He entered his father’s firm J.B.Sherriff and Company Distillers Glasgow and eventually became a partner.33

In 1883 George married Catherine Jane Nimmo, daughter of Alexander Nimmo of Howkerse Bothkennar, who was also a Lieutenant Colonel in the  Stirlingshire Volunteers-perhaps the source of future interest in things military among the boys in the Sherriff family. Catherine and George went on to have six living children. Flora  was born in 1887, John George in 1891, Edith Mary in 1892, Alexander Nimmo in 1885  our donor Christopher Bell in 1896 and George in 1898.34

British Architect 20th July 188 (002)
Fig. 3 Architect’s Plan of Woodcroft . British Architect  20/07/1888. © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection:The Mitchell Library Special Collections.

Home was Woodcroft,  Carronvale Road Larbert. By this time part of the Carronvale Estate was being feud for housing by John Bell Sherriff and George appears to have taken a plot for a family home. The house was built in 1888.  George commissioned architect Thomas Lennox Watson to design the house in the English Arts and Craft style.35

As his father before him George played a leading part in the local community. He represented Larbert Division for some years on Stirling County Council and he was a Justice of the Peace for the County. He was also a philanthropist. For example he was a director of the Scottish National Imbecile Institution( in more enlightened times known as Larbert Hospital).36

george sherriff 1856-1908
Fig 4 George Sherriff  © Falkirk Community Trust Callendar House.P24738 . Photographer unknown

George was also one of the local wealthy men who were instrumental in setting up in 1894 The Larbert and Stenhouse Nursing Association with the aim of appointing a Jubilee Nurse and providing funds for a   nurse to care for the poor in their own homes.37 The scheme came about as a result of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 when to commemorate this event the women of Britain collected £70,000 which they presented to the Queen. Victoria used the money to set up a training school for nurses to look after the poor in their own homes. Larbert was one of many districts in Britain which established a Nursing Association.  The Queen Victoria Jubilee Institute for Nurses was set up, “for the education of nurses to attend the sick poor in their own house”. The Institute was also used to promote the establishment of branches throughout the UK. Within Scotland training facilities were soon developed in Glasgow and a Central Training Home was established in Edinburgh. At first this was a small flat in North Charlotte Street but such was the demand that the organisation moved to much larger premises in Castle Terrace. The training of Queens Nurses continued at Castle Terrace until 1970 when it moved to what is now Queen Margaret University. Although there had been earlier pioneers of what we now know as district nurses, in Liverpool and Glasgow for example through the work of William Rathbone, it was the Queen Victoria Jubilee Institute which was the major turning point in the provision of this service. Among the prominent families who supported the “Jubilee Nurse” was that of George Sherriff of Woodcroft. These families supported the Association financially and raised funds. In practice it was the wives and daughters of the prominent men who did all the work. They appointed the nurse, went over all the activities of the Association which were carefully minuted each month and even inspected the accommodation provided for the nurse to make sure it was kept up to standard. In his will John Bell Sheriff left £1000 to the Jubilee Nurse Association in memory of his daughter Margaret Eugenie Flora who had been an active supporter. Catherine Nimmo Sherriff, George’s wife and the mother of our donor, was also very active in the Association.38 Politically George was an ardent Conservative (known as Unionist at that time).39

As we have seen he appears to have had an interest in photography. According to the inventory of Carronvale House after his death there was a Photography Room. In here were racks of photographic materials and equipment including “an adjustable camera stand”.  George also had shares in Eastman Kodak, again demonstrating his interest in photography. 40

Unfortunately George had “indifferent health” and died at the relatively young age of 52 on 10th November 1908. 42 His estate was left in trust to his eldest son John George who was   just twenty-one.

Christopher Bell Sherriff (CBS) (1896-1967)

CBS was born on 28th February 1896 at Woodcroft.  Shortly after his birth his grandfather John Bell Sherriff  died, leaving his large  estate in trust to his son George.43 The family moved to Carronvale House after it had been modernised. George Sherriff had engaged the architect John James Burnet to redesign and modernise the house in the Arts and Craft Style.44 George Sherriff and Burnet had  both attended Blairlodge Academy in Polmont 45  which was a prestigious boarding school  in the last half of the nineteenth century and is  now Polmont Young Offenders Institution.46

School Days

Although his eldest brother John George had attended the Merchiston School Edinburgh47 in 1910 CBS followed his elder brother Alexander to Sedbergh School in what is now Cumbria.48 Alexander joined the Officers Training Corps (OTC) at Sedbergh and went on to Sandhurst in 1912, from where he passed out in December 1914 and was gazetted into the Northamptonshire Regiment. Like his brother CBS was pupil in Evans House. His school career is documented in the school magazine The Sedbergian. He played rugby and cricket for the school and in 1912 won several prizes for his proficiency in the hurdles and high jump. In July 1912 he was awarded the “Mathematical Prize”  on Speech Day. He was also a member of the OTC and was promoted to Sergeant in February 1914. Also in February 1914 CBS was made a prefect as well as gaining a try in the 1st Team rugby match against Windermere School.

In July 1914 he was a warded the “Prefect’s leaving prize”.49 On 14th June 1914 CBS went up to Trinity College Cambridge where he began to study Engineering Science. The outbreak of war in August 1914 was to interrupt his studies.50

Sedberg School Main School
Fig. 5 Sedburgh School © Sedburgh School

  War Service 1914-1918 

CBS joined the army from Cambridge on December 7th1914. This must have been very hard for his parents as his brother Alexander had been killed in action at the end of October.51 Or perhaps that is why our donor “joined up”. At first CBS was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 11th Service Battalion of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders known as Princess Louise’s Regiment. However on 11th October 1915 he was transferred to the Army Service Corps.52 By this time his eldest brother John George (7th Battalion Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders) had also been killed in action on 24th April 1915.53 Whether this transfer to more of a support position was because of the death of two brothers is only speculation. In any event the death of his two eldest brothers left CBS the largest landowner in Stirlingshire and heir to a vast commercial portfolio as well as owner of distilleries in Campbeltown  and Islay and of sugar plantations and rum distilleries in Jamaica.54 On his death at the age of twenty-four John George Sherriff ‘s personal estate had been worth £80,000.55 All these assets were managed by a trust set up by his father.

CBS had also inherited a vast amount of land. Apart from the Carronvale estate the Sheriffs were proprietors of The Stenhouse and Kersie Estates in Stirlingshire and the Kingairloch Estate in Argyle.56 However in 1915 his responsibilities at home were probably far from his thoughts.

CBS 1914-18 2
Fig. 6 Lieutenant Christopher Bell Sherriff  c1914. © IWM (HU126440)

Unfortunately our donor’s WW One war records are among the many destroyed during World War Two.  We do know that CBS served in Malta and in Salonika from April 1917. 57 According to the London Gazette he was one of the many former cadets of the Officers Training Corps to be made acting 2nd Lieutenant in on 7th December 1914. 58  He was promoted to Lieutenant (temporary) in July 1917 and Acting Captain (temporary) in the renamed Royal Army Service Corps in May 1918. 59 At the end of the war he was awarded the Victory Medal ,1914-15 Star and the British War Medal three medals irreverently known by the troops as “Pip, Squeak and Wilfred.60

Inter War Years 1919-1939

After the war CBS returned to Trinity College Cambridge to complete his degree. He graduated BA in 1920 with an Ordinary Degree in Engineering Science. For students whose degree course had been interrupted by the war  degree requirements to reside for nine terms were waived so a degree could be awarded in two years.61

CBS and his mother were Trustees for his father’s estate. He attended his first meeting  on 5th May 1920. Around 1919/20 J.B.Sherriff & Company Ltd went into voluntary liquidation for reasons which are unclear. The whisky business was sold to J.P.OBrien Ltd. A  new company  J.B.Sherriff &Company (Jamaica ) Ltd, was formed to manage the Jamaican interests. The meetings of the Trustees appear to have been annual.62

By 1921 the new company owned at least five sugar plantations in Trelawney Parish ,Jamaica. These were Long Pond, Parnassus, Hyde Hall, Steelfield and Etingen. There was a central factory at Long Pond for the distilling etc of rum.63 CBS made several trips to Jamaica for example inMarch 1923 on the “Patuca”   and on the “SS Bayano” in 1931 where CBS is described as a company director.64 The day-to-day running of the Jamaican business was in the hands of agents .The sugar and rum business was eventually taken over  in 1953 by the Canadian company Seagrams, a wholly owned subsidiary of Distillers Corporation. 65

In 1925 the company bought Bowmore Distillery in Islay and ran it until 1950. During World War Two production ceased and the distillery hosted RAF Coastal Command. So as we can see CBS, as a director of J.B.Sherriff(Jamaica)Ltd was very involved in the running of the business which his grandfather John Bell Sherriff had developed.66

On Thursday 15th November 1928 in Paisley Abbey Christopher married Elizabeth Mary Greig  who was the eldest daughter of Robert Greig of Hall of Caldwell Uplawmoor Renfrewshire.67 Robert Greig was a prominent Glasgow businessman. In the strange way of the coincidences of life Elizabeth was a direct descendant of Admiral Greig of Catherine the Great’s Imperial Russian Navy. It was Admiral Greig who had recommended that the ruler of Russia employ Scottish engineers, especially Galbraith, formerly of the Carron Iron Works. Galbraith in turn employed George Sherriff great grandfather of our donor.68

 The report of the wedding in the Falkirk Herald  of 24/11/1928 noted the presence at the wedding of the bride’s uncle Wing Commander Louis Greig,” former comptroller to the  Duke of York” later King George VI. Louis Greig had studied medicine at Glasgow University and in 1906 he joined the navy. In 1909 he joined the Royal Naval College at Osborne, where he met Prince Albert, later Duke of York. The prince was ill-equipped for this hearty all male society and Louis took him under his wing. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography rather unkindly suggests that Louis was “ambitious enough to realise how the royal cadet could further his career” though went on to say that he genuinely liked the prince and saw his potential. For his part the prince hero-worshipped his self-confident mentor. Having met Louis Albert’s father King George V encouraged the friendship and pulled strings to ensure they served together on HMS Cumberland where Greig was ship’s surgeon. In 1918 Louis was appointed equerry. During the early 1920s the two were inseparable. It was Louis who partnered the prince at his famous appearance at Wimbledon.

He encouraged the prince’s wooing of Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, which in turn put an end to his position in the royal household. Louis was gradually frozen out. Louis was also close to Ramsay MacDonald and played a small but useful part in the formation of the National Government. It was Macdonald who persuaded Louis to accept a knighthood in 1932.69

Having spent their honeymoon in Sicily70  the newly-weds set up home at a house called Craigmarloch in  Kilmacolm. The house had a substantial four acre garden and a further six acres of grazing and stabling for two horses. Elizabeth Sherriff seems to have been an keen member of the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Hunt. Many meetings were hosted at Craigmarloch.71

Carronvale House was still occupied by CBS’s mother Catherine. Catherine was the last of the Sherriffs to live at Carronvale House. She died in 1936. During World War 2 it housed the entire claims department of the Prudential insurance Company which had been removed from London. In 1946  Carronvale House was sold and became the Headquarters of The Boys Brigade in Scotland.72

Elizabeth and Christopher had three sons. Christopher George was born in 1930,John Alexander in 1931 and Robert Mark in 1936. 73

Around 1921 after his return from Cambridge CBS joined the reformed 7th Battalion Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders (T A). He was a member of Company B based at Larbert. He took an active role in the activities of the battalion throughout the interwar period.74 He was regularly promoted until in 1934 he was made Commanding Officer with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. According to the Stirling Journal and Advertiser “he is popular with all ranks and should make an ideal commanding officer for the Seventh”.75

As his father, grandfather and great -grandfather before him, CBS played an active part in the local community. He was Honorary President of the 35th Larbert East  United Free Church Scout Troup, and an honorary member of the Stenhousemuir Bowling Club. The Sherriffs had provided the land for the club and eventually sold it to the members for a very reasonable price, similarly the land for Falkirk Tryst Golf Club.76 CBS was also a member of the Larbert and Stenhouse Masonic Lodge 77 and became the President of the Larbert and Stenhouse Unionist Associaltion.78

CBS carried on the long family involvement with The Larbert and District Nursing Association79 as a Board Member and was appointed Honorary President in 1946.80  The name of the Association had been changed in 1919 to Larbert Parish and Carron District Nursing Association when Carron District was set up and a second nurse was employed following a bequest from the trust of one Miss Dawson. The Association lasted until the National Health Service took over the provision of District Nursing Services in 1950.81

Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather CBS was  a member of The Glasgow, Stirlingshire  Sons of the Rock Society, the philanthropic organisation founded in 1809 by a group of Glasgow merchants and tradesmen living in Stirlingshire to give practical and financial assistance to people within the county boundary who would otherwise be destitute. It is one of Scotland’s oldest charitable bodies and still exists today.82 CBS attended a meeting at the Golden Lion Hotel in Stirling in January 1938.83

Life for our donor was not all duty. There are several references in the local press to his attendance at annual balls of the Seventh Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Stirling County Ball, again at the Golden Lion in Stirling.84  CBS was also a keen tennis player in his youth. For example in 1920 he and his brother George won the Men’s Doubles at the Scottish Central Lord Tennis Championships  and he is mentioned each summer in the Falkirk Herald  until his marriage in 1928 as entering various tennis championships.85

 War Service 1939-45

According to the Army Lists, CBS enlisted for war service on 28th August 1939. At the age of 43 he was commissioned as a Class I Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Pioneer Corps.86 By June 1940 he was Commanding Officer of 16 Group Royal Pioneer Corps.  16 Group had been formed at Westcliffe-on Sea and was then moved to Tonbridge. The unit remained in Britain until 29th October 1942 when the men moved to Glasgow and boarded the ‘Arundel Castle’ landing in Algiers on 1st December.87 According to Major E.H.Rhodes-Wood in his war history of The Royal Pioneer Corps CBS and Group 16 were one of the units which served in North Africa, “to provide the First Army with its military labour force.” The unit saw action in North Africa throughout 1943, returning to Gourock on 26th November 1943.88 While in North Africa CBS was Mentioned in Dispatches in September, but there is no information as to the event.89

On returning to the UK CBS’s unit proceeded to St Albans  and in January 1944 moved  to Bury St Edmunds then to Ipswich, Putney and by 4th June 1944 the unit was in the marshalling area in West Ham  in preparation for D-Day. The unit embarked for Normandy on 8th June two days after the Normandy Landings. The unit moved to Arromanches on 12th June and for the rest of June and July were working on or near the beaches.90

.According to  Rhodes-Wood, on  September 4th 16 Group, commanded by Lt-Colonel C.B.Sherriff, with four companies and a Civil Labour Unit entered Dieppe which had been captured the previous day  and immediately started  on repairs to docks, constructing a train ferry ramp and lifting unexploded bombs. These activities provide an excellent example of how the work of the Pioneers and civilians was coordinated to get a port in running order. The unit remained in Northern France until April 1945 when the men moved to Eindhoven in Germany and there celebrated VE Day on 6th May.91 According to the Army Lists CBS had been demobilised by October 1945.92 

Post War Years.

When the war ended CBS and his family were still living at Craigmarloch near Kilmacolm where they remained until 1958. As well as carrying on his ‘day job’ as a director of JB Sherriff and Co(Jamaica)Ltd, he played an active part in the local community.  He was on the Board of Management of The Princess Louise Scottish Hospital for Limbless Soldiers and Sailors at Erskine, Renfrewshire-known to us as Erskine Hospital. In 1950 he was appointed a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire and was also a member of the Queen’s Bodyguard in Scotland-The Royal Company of Archers.93

Around 1958 CBS bought the Pitnacree Estate near Ballinluig, Perthshire to where he and his wife moved in 1958. They lived at Pitnacree House. CBS took a great interest in farming and improving   the estate and always took part very successfully  in the local cattle shows. It was during his’ watch’ that the gardens at Pitnacree House became the wonderful sight they are today. Mrs Sherriff appears to have been the gardener in the family. The gardens of Pitnacree are still open each year as part of Scotland’s Garden Scheme in which Mrs Sherriff took a great interest. Both CBS and Elizabeth were members of Strathtay Kirk where CBS was an Elder.94

The Seventh Battalion Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders continued to play an important part in our donor’s life. He was Honorary Colonel from 1957 to 1963.95

Lt Col C B Sherrif 1954 -58 7th Bn 001 (002)
Fig. 7 Lt Col C B Sherriff OBE TD Hon Col 7th Battalion Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders  1957-63.© The Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders Museum

Political loyalties were also maintained after the move to Perthshire where CBS was a member of the Strathtay Grandtully and Mid-Atholl Unionist Association.96

Christopher Bell Sherriff died at Pitnacree House on 29th October 1967 at the age of 72 of a heart attack97. Elizabeth died on July 26th 1990.98 According to a friend who wrote an appreciation of him in the Glasgow Herald shortly after his death,

”Chris Sherriff…will be greatly missed by a wide range of friends in all walks of life…..The countryside was his great love and he was happiest on the moor or making and growing things at Pitnacree surrounded by his wife and family.

In a world of bewildering changes of outlook and standards, his own views of what was right and wrong never varied. He was a modest man and probably never realised what a source of strength he was to all who came in touch with him….”.99 



F H -Falkirk Herald

GCA -Glasgow City Archives Mitchell Library

GMRC-Glasgow Museums Resource Centre

P A -Perth Advertiser

S J A-Stirling Journal and Advertiser

S O-Stirling Observer


1. GMRC. Object File. Accession No 2552

2.Charles Baile de Laperriere.The Royal Scottish Academy.1826-1900.Hilmartin Manor Press 1991

3.John Bell Sherriff Trust Papers. GCA.T-BK 165/7

4.George Sherriff Trust Papers. GCA.T-AF-254 p.40

5.John C. Gibson. Lands and Lairds of Larbert and Dunipace Parishes.Hugh Hopkins Glasgow 1908

6.George Sherriff Trust Papers .GCA T-AF 254 p.153

7.John C Gibson. Lands and Lairds of Larbert and Dunipace Parishes


9.Geoff B. Bailey.’Carron Company and the Export of Technology to Eastern Europe.’ In Calatria  Vol 17 Autumn 2003. Journal of the Falkirk Local History Society.

10. ibid pp. 14-17

11. ibid pp. 3-5

12. ibid p 14

13. Boulton and Watt Collection.

14. op cit  Bailey pp 14-17

15. ibid p 17

16.UK Census

17.  op cit Bailey p 17

18. Statutory Marriages


20. Ulf Buxrud ‘Lost Scotch Whisky Distilleries1885-1945’ Ulf Buxrod 2000

21. John Bell Sherriff Trust Papers.GCA .T-BK165/7

22. Papers of the Sherriff Family 1715-1937. Russell and Aitkin Papers. Falkirk Archives Ref A1847;

23. http:/

24. FH 19/9/1896

25. FH11/1/1877 ;FH1/1/1887

26. FH 19/1/1878


28.1900 Handbookof Jamaica ; Pond

30.John Bell Sherriff Trust Papers.GCA.T-BK165/7

31. UK Census 1841


33. SJA 13/11/1908


35. British Architect 20/07/1888 ;Building News 17/07/1891

36. SJA 13/11/1908

37.FH 23/06/1894 ;

38. Larbert Parish and Carron District Nursing Association. Minute Books 1894-1944. Falkirk Archives. Ref A1800-020/1-4

39. SJA 13/11/1908

41. George Sherriff Trust Papers GCA T-AF256 p.153

42. SJA 13/11/1908


43. John Bell Trust Papers .GCA.T-BK 165/7

44. Brian Watters 2006. “Carronvale House”

45. SJA 19/11/1908

46. Ian Scott 2005 “Polmont and Brightons.”

47. FH 08/05/1915

48. UK Census

49. The Sedberghian 1907-1914 ;


51. FH 08/05/1915

52. London Gazette23/10/1915 Supplement 10477

53. FH 08/05/1915

54. SJA 13/11/1908; George Sherriff Trust Papers GCA T-AF256


56.George Sherriff Trust Papers GCA T-AF256

57. FH10/06/1939

58.London Gazette 18/12/1914 Supplement 10452

59.London Gazette  30/05/1918 Supplement 6313


62. George Sherriff Trust Papers GCA T-AF256 p.260

63. Pond

64. UK Passenger Lists Pond

66. Neil Wilson The Island Whisky Trail.  Angels Share 2003 p.71

67. FH 24/11/1928

68. op cit Bailey.  p3

69. Geordie Greig  Louis and the Prince Hodder & Stoughton 1999

70. FH 24/11/1928

71. Scotsman  21/10/1937

72. op cit  Watters. Statutory Births

74. “Peacetime” 1908-1958. 7th Battalion Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders:their peacetime life.1908-1958.Paramount Press ND.Mitchell Library SRH 355.31ARG/PEA pp52,64,66

75. SJA 22/11/1934

76. FH 29/04/1933

77. FH 19/03/1927

78. FH 18/10/1924

79. FH 23/06/1894

80. FH.09/11/1946.

81. Larbert Parish and Carron District Nursing Association : Minutes and Annual reports 1912-1950. Falkirk Archives. Ref A1800.020/05/06


83. FH 09/10/1926 ;FH 19/01/1938

84. Scotsman 04/10/1938

85. Dundee Courier 19/07/1920

86 .FH 19/01/1934


88. Major E.H. Rhodes-Wood. A War History of the Royal Pioneer Corps 1939-1946.Aldershot,Galen& Poden 1960. p181


91. op cit Rhodes-Wood p181

92. Army Lists October 1945 p 2075

93.SJA  02/11/1967

94. ibid

95.op cit “ Peacetime”1908-1958. p.43

96. SJA 02/11/1967

97. Death Notice Times 31/10/1967

98. PA 26/07/1990 ;

99. GH 06/11/1967 4b















Mrs C.R.Ashbee 1877-1961

In 1947, Mrs C.R.Ashbee donated a painting of her mother-in-law Mrs H.S.Ashbee to Glasgow museums. (1) The painting was by E. A .Walton, one of the Glasgow Boys.


mrs H S Ashbee
Figure 1. Mrs H S Ashbee by E A Walton c CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

Janet Elizabeth Forbes(2) was born on the 28 December 1877 in Sevenoaks, Kent, to Francis A. Forbes, a cultivated stockbroker and his wife, Jessie Carrick, who was of Scottish descent but had been brought up in Saint Petersburg, Russia.(3)  She was educated at home by a governess, Miss  Stoy (4 ) and she studied English literature, geography, basic Latin and languages . At the age of 15 she and Miss Stoy spent a year in Germany and the next year they spent  months in Paris. She began to keep commonplace books and diaries, a practice which she continued for some years. These with many letters are now in the Ashbee family archives and are a source for the remarkable biography written by her daughter, Felicity  Ashbee.(5) At the age of 19, on 8 September 1898(6), she married Charles Robert Ashbee, a leading light in the Arts and Crafts movement.

Since her life thereafter was linked to his, it is reasonable to discuss Charles Robert Ashbee. He was born in 1863(7) to Henry Spencer Ashbee, a rich and successful businessman and exporter, and to his wife Elizabeth Jenny Lavy, daughter of a rich merchant from Hamburg. He was educated at Winchester College and at King’s College Cambridge(8) where he read History. It is said that his father disapproved and wished him to join the family firm, Charles Lavy and Company, however with the support of his mother he went to Cambridge. His father cut him off with £1000.(9) His father had a collection of erotica(10) which he eventually gave to the British Library. It forms the major part of its collection in the “Private Case”.

While at Cambridge, Charles met Edmund Carpenter, a founding member of the Fellowship of the New Life which extolled the virtues of the simple life, manual labour and friendship. He also came under the influence of William Morris. He decided to become an architect and (11) he lived in the East End of London at Whitechapel in

Figure 2. C R Ashbee by William Strang Wikipaedia Commons Public Domain

Toynbee Hall. There he founded Ashbee’s Guild of Handicraft. The Guild had the support of Burne-Jones, Holman Hunt and Alma Tadema to name but a few. It was a decidedly masculine society and put much faith in comradeship and craftsmanship. He lived at 37 Cheyne Walk with his mother and two unmarried sisters in a house which he had designed after his parents separated in 1893.(12 ) .  E.A. Walton was a neighbour at 73 Cheyne Walk.(13)

In 1898 at the age of 35, he married Janet Forbes who was then in 19 years old.(14) His life style had been that of a homosexual but there is a touching letter (15 ) to Janet in which he asked her to be his “ comrade wife” They lived in 74 Cheyne Walk in a house which he had designed and which was paid for by Janet’s father.(16 ) She was assimilated into the Guild and took part in the fellowship and  out door life that they enjoyed. (17) For example they sailed the river Wye and camped by its banks. In 1901 they travelled to America for a lecture tour with Charles’ mother, whom they called “The Little Mother”, covering  the  east coast ofAmerica, Washington and New York, and Chicago. They met, among others Frank Lloyd Wright. (18)

Janet became a strong and resourceful woman who took responsibility for the domestic arrangements and the many moves during her married life.

Charles Ashbee continued to promote the Guild and in 1902 it moved to Chipping Camden though he retained his office in Cheyne Walk. Number 74 was rented for a time to Rex Whistler.(19)

In Chipping Camden, there were living areas, workshops and a library and museum. All kinds of crafts were there, preferably hand worked: metalwork, jewellery, woodwork, cabinetmaking and painting. In addition to his architect practice, Charles designed silver ware and metal works which can be found in museums (20) among them the Victoria and Albert in London and the Court Barn Museum in Chipping Camden. Some are in private collections and they still come up for auction from time to time. Many young artists were attracted to work there and Mrs Ashbee became the “mother figure” although she was near to their age. She was the link with the people in Chipping Camden.(21)

After 13 years of marriage, her first daughter was born. In all she and Charles had four daughters(22) and caring for them became her fulfilment. She wrote one novel which was never published but her literary output is in her letters and diaries. She spoke French and German and had “ a facility for languages “. (23 )

The Guild was very sociable and enjoyed lectures and entertainments. It attracted many notable people (24) including Beatrice and Sidney Webb, William De Morgan, A.E.Housman, John Masefield and Lloyd Wright. The Guild eventually overextended itself and was disbanded in 1907, though it was reconstituted in 1908 but never really revived. The First World War ended the dream.

In 1915, Charles went on another lecture tour in America. In 1917, he sailed to Cairo to teach English at a training College (25). In 1918, he was appointed Civic Adviser to the British Mandate in Palestine, overseeing building works and protection of religious sites (26). He and his family lived in Jerusalem from 1918 to 1923.He published the Records of the Pro-Jerusalem Society in 1924.(27) On returning to Britain, the couple moved to his wife’s family home in Sevenoaks .He died in Seven Oaks on2 May 1942.(28) Janet died in Lancaster in June 1961.(29)



  1. Minutes of Glasgow City Council               1947
  2. Church of England Births and Baptisms 1813-1917
  3. Fiona MacCarthy: The Simple Life: C.R.Ashbee in the Cotswolds. London, Lund Humphries, 1981
  4. Felicity Ashbee: Janet Ashbee. Love , Marriage and the Arts and Crafts Movement.Syracuse University Press.2002. p5,7.
  5. Felicity Ashbee: Janet Ashbee. Love , Marriage and the Arts and Crafts Movement.Syracuse University Press.2002. p5,7.
  6. England and Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index.
  7. Church of England Births and Baptisms 1813-1917
  8. Cambridge University Alumni 1261-1900
  9. Fiona MacCarthy: The Simple Life: C.R.Ashbee in the Cotswolds. London, Lund Humphries, 1981
  10. The Observer.9th February 2019. Kate Williams .What I saw in the British Library’s Dirty Book Section.
  11. Fiona MacCarthy: The Simple Life: C.R.Ashbee in the Cotswolds. London, Lund Humphries, 1981
  12. Felicity Ashbee: Janet Ashbee. Love , Marriage and the Arts and Crafts Movement.Syracuse University Press.2002
  13. Letter on fie in Archives of Glasgow Museums from Alan Crawford
  14. England and Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index.
  15. Felicity Ashbee: Janet Ashbee. Love , Marriage and the Arts and Crafts Movement.Syracuse University Press.2002
  16. Fiona MacCarthy: The Simple Life: C.R.Ashbee in the Cotswolds. London, Lund Humphries, 1981
  17. Felicity Ashbee: Janet Ashbee. Love , Marriage and the Arts and Crafts Movement.Syracuse University Press.2002.p98
  18. Ibid p57
  19. Fiona MacCarthy: The Simple Life: C.R.Ashbee in the Cotswolds. London, Lund Humphries, 1981.p77
  20. The Art Fund
  21. Fiona MacCarthy: The Simple Life: C.R.Ashbee in the Cotswolds. London, Lund Humphries, 1981
  23. Felicity Ashbee :Janet Ashbee. Love , Marriage and the Arts and Crafts Movement.Syracuse University Press.2002
  24. Fiona MacCarthy: The Simple Life: C.R.Ashbee in the Cotswolds. London, Lund Humphries, 1981
  25. Felicity Ashbee: Janet Ashbee. Love , Marriage and the Arts and Crafts Movement.Syracuse University Press.2002
  26. ibid
  27. C R Ashbee .Jerusalem 1918-1920: Being the Records of the Pro-Jerusalem Council during the Period of British Military Administration. London ,John Murray.1924
  28. England and Wales Civic registration Death Index 1916-2007
  29. England and Wales Civic registration Death Index 1916-2007

Allan McLean (1851 – 1928)

In the minutes[1] of the Corporation of Glasgow from November 1927 – April 1928  the following note concerning our donor Allan McLean was included. There was submitted a letter of date 6th ultimo, from Messers, R& J M Hill Brown & Co. Intimating on behalf of the trustees and executors of their late partner Mr Allan McLean that the deceased had by his testamentary writings made a bequest for the Corp. of the following pictures & Bronzes, which was agreed to accept upon the terms and conditions in the deceased’s settlement, viz.:

The person that the letter was about was our donor Mr Allan McLean and the donations that he made to Kelvingrove Gallery. Three of these paintings from his bequest are:

1) The Wood Nymph (oil) by William Stott of Oldham;

2) The Hudson River (oil) and 3) St. Ives, Cornwall  (oil) both by T.Millie Dow.

These are shown below.

Stott, William, 1857-1900; The Nymph
Figure 1. The Wood Nymph. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (


Dow, Thomas Millie, 1848-1919; The Hudson River
Figure 2. The Hudson River. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (


Dow, Thomas Millie, 1848-1919; St Ives, Cornwall
Figure 3. St Ives, Cornwall. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (

Our donor’s Life 

Allan McLean was born in 1851[2] and his parents were Mr Allan McLean, a property owner and slater and his mother Margaret McLean, nee Finlayson. He was a Lawyer by profession. In 1884, he married Miss Mary Millie Dow[3] , who also came from a family of lawyers. Mary was the sister of Thomas Millie Dow.

Allan McLean had bequeathed to the Kelvingrove Gallery a very interesting and valuable collection of art effects on his death. Although he was always interested in art, after his marriage to Mary Millie Dow and finding himself in the company of artists thorough his brother-in-law and his artist friends made him much more interested in art. Therefore, it is important to mention something about Thomas Millie Dow and his artistic life at this juncture, as someone who may have influenced Allan McLean.

Thomas Millie Dow was born 28 October 1848 at Dysart, Fife, a son of the town clerk and destined to a career in law, which he studied in Edinburgh and was expected to follow his father and brother into the family law firm in Kirkcaldy. But he did not complete his apprenticeship and deciding against a career in law, Dow left Scotland and went to Paris in 1877 and enrolled for classes at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts under Jean-Léon Gérôme. Later, in 1879 he registered with the ateliers of Rudolphe Julien and Carolus Duran. Of his earlier instruction in painting and drawing little is known except for the encouragement he received from his uncle Alexander Millie who was an amateur artist[4]. 

Two young men among the many British and American students registered for classes in Paris in the late 1870s became Dow’s particular friends. They were the Englishman William Stott of Oldham and the American Abbott Handerson Thayer. Both men were to remain important figures in Dow’s personal and professional life and, as both had strong personalities and strong ideas about art, they came to exert a considerable influence over the artistic choices he made. Among other friends studying in Paris at the time were the Glasgow-based artists John Lavery, Alexander Roche, James Paterson and Alexander Mann[5]. Thomas Millie Dow was later to be known as one of the Glasgow Boys. But he was not a Glaswegian just like Lavery and some others.

Our donor Allan McLean and his wife Mary Millie(Dow) McLean lived at:   2 Lorraine Gardens, Glasgow with 2 servants (cook and housemaid)[6]. He was a solicitor and partner with the Glasgow law firm R&JM Hill Brown & Co. and stayed with the firm until his death in 1928[7].

From his youth he had an interest in art. His marriage to Mary Millie Dow, who was a member of the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts[8] and a sister of the artist Thomas Millie Dow (one of the Glasgow Boys), introduced him to artistic circles. He was also a friend of the artist William York MacGregor[9] (also a Glasgow Boy).

Together with his wife, Allan McLean paid regular visits to the Continent and visited the principal galleries and exhibitions. During his life, he gathered a considerable collection of pictures and books on the history of art[10]. From the year 1896 until his death, Allan McLean acted as secretary of the Incorporated Old Man’s Friend Society and Old Women’s Home, and devoted a great deal of time and attention to the affairs of the Institution[11].

For some time before her death, Mrs McLean was in bad health and her husband took care of her during her illness abandoning most of his outside interests. Her death ended a very happy marriage[12]. 

The following information, which was found in relevant documents, relates to milestones in Allan McLean’s career and they are displayed below in chronological order:

From the Scottish Law List (directory of law agents) [13]

  • He was apprenticed on 1st December 1872, at the age of 21, and started on a monthly wage of £6.
  • He was described as affable, charming and meticulous. He drafted documents “very carefully” and in what could be considered longwinded by today’s standards.
  • In 1880 he was assumed partner.
  • In 1881 (firm R & JM Hill Brown & Co) where he was listed as having qualified lawyer in 1874.
  • Last entry 1928 (firm still listed as R & JM Hill Brown & Co).
  • Admitted as a member of the Faculty of Procurators 18th November 1887 and he was a member until his death on 30th January 1928.

The following were found in the Faculty of Procurators Council Minutes[14].

  • Served on the Library Committee 1905-1909.
  • Appointed as a member of the Glasgow Register of Public Streets Committee 1907.
  • Elected as a Council member 9th June 1910 (served on the Council until 5th June 1913).
  • Appointed as a Trustee to the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow Infirmary Trust 7th December 1916.
  • In 1896 he became the Honorary Secretary to the Incorporated Glasgow Old Men’s Friendly Society and Old Woman’s Home.

Between 1885-87, Thomas Millie Dow (Mary Millie Dow’s brother) stayed with the McLeans. Mary is thought to be the model for Lady in Black (by Thomas Millie Dow) which is in a private collection. At that time Thomas shared a studio with William York McGregor[15].

Allan McLean died at home at 2 Lorraine Gardens on 30th January 1928. He had no children[16,17]. 


The author would like to express her thanks to John McKenzie, Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow for his help.


[1] Corp. of Glasgow from November 1927 – April 1928. Vol. C1/3/28, Page 987 (parks). 2nd March 1928, 1927-1926, Vol.11, Mitchell Library Archives.

[2] 1901 Census; Scotlands People Archives:

[3] ibid. Marriage Certificate Scotlands People Archives1884.


[5] ibid.

[6] op.cit. 1901 Census.

[7] Archives of Glasgow Herald of 1st February 1928; Death Notice p.1; Obituary p.13.

[8] Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts Records, Mitchell Library Archives.

[9] op.cit.  Wikipedia-Thomas_Millie_Dow.

[10] op.cit. Archives of Glasgow Herald.

[11] ibid.

[12] Death Cert. Mary Millie Dow in1926; Scotlands People Archives.

[13] Private correspondence John McKenzie, Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow.

[14] ibid.

[15] op.cit.

[16] op.cit. Archives of Glasgow Herald.

[17] The death certificate of Mr. Allan McLean, Scotlands People Archives,

























Alexander Walker, C.B.E., D.L., J.P., F.S.I. (1886 – 1945).

On the 21st of September 1943 Mr. Alexander Walker, Esq. of 20 Queen`s Gate, Glasgow presented a portrait in oils of himself by J. Raeburn Middleton. The portrait was probably painted about 1936 when Walker was 70. Its acquisition number is 2341.

Figure 1. Alexander Walker. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

“The committee agreed to accept, with thanks, an offer by Mr Alexander Walker, 20, Queen`s Gate, Glasgow, W.2, to present to the Corporation a portrait of himself by the late Mr. Raeburn Middleton”. 1

Alexander Walker was born on 28th of March 1866 at 27 ½ Crown Street, Hutchesontown.2 (He used to recall that his mother would speak of the public executions she could see from the house).3 His father, Andrew Walker was a “tobacco spinner” (i.e. a person who made and sold tobacco products). He married Agnes Wilson on 31st of December 1858 in Brechin.4 By 1871 Alexander was living at 168 Gallowgate with his parents, his older brother William aged seven and two sisters Agnes aged three and Margaret aged one.5 He was educated at Wilson`s School – a free, school located at 87 Montrose Street, Glasgow.6,7 (Although Wilson`s School in London had originally claimed Alexander Walker as one of their illustrious alumni there is no connection between the two schools and the reference to Walker on their website has now been removed).8

Figure 2. Wilson’s School Pupil, 19th Century. Glasgow University Library, Special Collections Department, MS Murray 593

Figure 3. This building, formerly Wilson’s School was demolished to make way for the James Weir building, Strathclyde University. www. 2013.

Alexander left school at the age of twelve to become a “van boy with a Queen Street firm”. However, after a few months he entered a lawyer`s office and later spent five years training in general law business at the firm of W.B. Paterson.9 In 1881 the family was still at 168, Gallowgate Street with Alexander described as a “law clerk”.10

In January 1884, Alexander entered the service of the Corporation of Glasgow in the Town Clerk`s Office under Sir James Marwick. In the same year, aged 18, he matriculated at the University of Glasgow in the Arts Faculty. His class for his first year was “Junior Humanity”.11 He subsequently attended classes in Scot`s Law and in 1888 was awarded a prize for “Eminence in Class Examinations” and also received a prize awarded by the Faculty of Procurators of Glasgow.12 The following year he was placed in the “Eminently Distinguished” category after the Ordinary Class Examination in Conveyancing.13 He was now a “law student” still living at 168 Gallowgate with his mother, brothers and sisters in 1891 although his father does not appear on the census.14 There is no record of him graduating from the university although he was able to enrol as a law agent and a “writer”.

Alexander married Jessie Winchester at Loanhead, Rathven, Banff on the 2nd of June 1896. She was a schoolteacher and the daughter of a farmer. Alexander`s address at the time was 146 Onslow Drive, Glasgow and he gave his occupation as “solicitor”. His younger brother James was a witness.15 After their marriage the couple moved to “Loanhead”, Eastwood, Renfrewshire and by 1901 had a son, Alexander Reid and a daughter Lillias.16 In 1905, Alexander was appointed Depute Town Clerk in Glasgow and three years later was promoted to City Assessor at a salary of £750 rising to £900 a year.17 His entry in the Glasgow Post Office Directory for 1908/09 was, Walker, Alex., writer, lands valuation and registration of voters assessor, and surveyor of assessments, City Chambers, 249 George Street; ho, Loanhead, Giffnock .

Figure 4. Alexander Walker in 1909. Who’s Who in Glasgow, 1909.

This was the beginning of Mr Walker`s most outstanding work in the civic service. Within a very short period he instituted what were regarded as almost revolutionary changes in the sphere of valuation and rating, including a revision of the rating of the various trading departments of the Corporation and a claim from them for amounts greatly in excess of what they had hitherto been paying. The result of these changes was to bring about a considerable reduction in the rates. Within this brief period also he instituted changes in the manner of collecting assessments which proved a great convenience to the citizens, and led to a conspicuous increase in the amount collected”.18

During his time in office the valuation of Glasgow more than doubled to over 11 million pounds.

In 1914 he was appointed a J.P. for Glasgow and moved to 18 Queens Gate, Dowanhill. About this time he spent three months in America and Canada investigating various systems of rating and municipal administration.19 During the First World War he was secretary and treasurer of the committee of magistrates set up by Glasgow Corporation to look after the welfare of Belgian refugees around 20,000 of whom had fled to Scotland after the occupation of their country. A large number of them settled in Glasgow and a sum of £500,000 was raised for their welfare by Glasgow Corporation. At the same time a committee of ladies was set up to organise sales of the various goods produced by  the refugees, to visit and superintend the refugee hostels and “many other tasks”.20

Figure 5. CBE. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Figure 6. Order of the Crown of Belgium. Fdutil [CC BY-SA 3.0 (
Towards the end of the war, Alexander Walker was employed by the Admiralty to organise the introduction, housing and feeding of the additional labour coming to work in the Clyde shipyards. As a result of carrying out these duties, he was awarded a CBE. in the Birthday Honours of June 8th 1918.21,22 His wife, along with three other members of the “ladies committee”, was awarded an MBE. in 1920. (Appendix 2) Later Alexander was appointed Commander of the Order of the Crown of Belgium23 and a Member of the Order of St. Sava of Serbia, for his work as Honorary Secretary of the Glasgow-Serbian Relief Committee.24 His wife and the three other ladies were awarded the Queen Elizabeth Medal by the King of the Belgians and were personally thanked by him for their work with the refugees when they visited Belgium.25

Alexander was a Fellow of the Surveyors’ Institution of London (F.S.I.) and a member of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club.26 He was President of the National Association of Local Government Officers and in 1920 was appointed Honorary Solicitor in Scotland by NALGO to advise on aspects of law pertaining to Scotland. He held this post until 1925.27 He was Deacon of the Incorporation of Cordiners in 1928 and was a member of the Incorporation of Bonnet Makers and Dyers. Through his wife`s connection with the North East, he served for many years as a director and president of the Glasgow Angus and Mearns Benevolent Society, and was instrumental in bringing help to natives of Angus, in whose welfare he took a very keen interest. He was also an “enthusiastic freemason”.

In 1928, it seems that Alexander Walker received an offer of an appointment with a London firm at a salary of £3000. He duly submitted his resignation to the Corporation. However, prior to the council meeting which would “decide his fate” he had given his promise to members of the Corporation that if the Finance Committee`s recommendation (to accept his resignation and to pay him three months salary in lieu of notice) was not approved he would remain with the Corporation. It would seem that this was not approved and he remained in post.28 He retired from his post with Glasgow Corporation in 1935 but continued as a solicitor with offices at 141 Bath Street.29

It seems likely that his portrait was painted to commemorate his retirement and may even have been commissioned by Glasgow Corporation. He was described as being “short and plump, like an elderly Puck …… who does not look like a financial genius”.30

Alexander Walker died suddenly on 20th November 1945 during a visit to his daughter in Northwood, Middlesex. His body was cremated at Golders Green cemetery on the 24th.31 An obituary was published in the Glasgow Herald. 32 He was survived by his wife and two married daughters. His only son, Mr A. Reid, C.A., died in July, 1944. For a lawyer, his will, dated 15th Feb 1933, was very simple. It consisted of a single, hand-writen page in which he left everything to his wife. His estate was valued at £8,722.19.9.33


  1. Minutes of Glasgow Corporation, Committee on Art Galleries and Museums, Vol. Apr. – Nov. 1943, p 1404, Mitchell Library.
  2. Scotland`s People, Birth Certificate.
  3. The Bailie, No. 135, 13th August, 1934
  4. Scotland`s People, Marriage Certificate
  5. Scotland`s People, Census, 1971
  6. Eyre-Todd, George, Who`s Who in Glasgow, 1909: a biographical dictionary of nearly five hundred living Glasgow citizens and of notable citizens who have died since 1st January, 1907”,  Gowans & Gray, Glasgow, 1909, page 210
  7. Glasgow PO Directory, 1880; Wilson`s Charity School for Boys, 87 Montrose Street; George Liddell, teacher.
  8.‎The Bailie, No. 135, 13th August, 1934
  9. The Bailie, No. 135, 13th August, 1934
  10. Scotland`s People, Census, 1881
  11. University of Glasgow Matriculation Albums 1884-5; University of Glasgow Archives
  12. University of Glasgow Calendar, 1888, 1889; University of Glasgow Archives
  13. University of Glasgow, Schedules of Graduates in Law from 1888; University of Glasgow Archives
  14., 1891 Census, Glasgow
  15. Scotland`s People, Marriage Certificate
  16. Scotland`s People, 1901 Census
  17. Eyre-Todd, Who`s Who in Glasgow, 1909, page 210
  18. Glasgow Herald, Nov 21st, 1945, page 6
  19. Thurston, J, Scottish Biographies 1938, Jackson, Son & Co.
  20. The Baillie, No. 2478, 14th April, 1920
  21. Glasgow Herald, June 8th 1918, p6
  22. Third Supplement to the London Gazette, No. 30730, 7th June 1918, p 6693
  23. The Edinburgh Gazette, 22nd June 1920
  24. Op cit.
  25. The Baillie, 14th April, 1920
  26. Op cit.
  28. Glasgow Herald, Nov 17 1928
  29. Glasgow Post Office Directories, 1935-36
  30. The Bailie, No. 135, 13th August, 1934
  31. Glasgow Herald, Deaths, Nov. 21st 1945
  32. Glasgow Herald, Nov 21st 1945, page 6
  33. Records of Scotland, Wills, recorded 13th 1946

Appendix 1

A Short History of Wilson`s School, Glasgow

Scotstarbet`s Mortification

On the 7th and 13th of June 1653 and on the 28th April 1658, contracts were drawn up between Sir John Scott of Scotstarbet, one of the Senators of the College of Justice, and the Magistrates and Council of Glasgow whereby “out of the love he had for this city, being the prime city in the west, out of which country Sir John descended, and in consideration of the calamity of the inhabitants through fire, he mortified and conveyed to the Magistrates and Council the lands of Pucky and Pucky Mill” which were located in St. Leonard`s in Fife.1 The rents from these lands were to be used “for putting four boys to apprenticeships, to any lawful honest trade or calling, within the Burgh; no greater sum is to be paid for their apprentice-fees than 100 merks, and after their apprenticeships are over, they are to be admitted Burgesses by the Magistrates gratis”. 2

Sir John agreed that the choice of boys (“Scotch bairns”) should be from within the burgh, in preference to any from Edinburgh. Three of these boys were to be presented by the Donor’s successors and the other by the Magistrates and Council. By act of Council, 5th April 1781, an agreement was made between David Scott of Scotstarbet Esq. the successor of Sir John, and the Magistrates and Council, to increase the number of boys presented if the rental income increased. However, the apprentice-fees should not be augmented, notwithstanding any rise in the rent. 3

Wilson`s Charity

In 1778 Mr. George Wilson, a native of Glasgow who had made his fortune as a merchant in London, gave £3000 for clothing and educating a certain number of boys in Glasgow. These funds were augmented by subsequent donations and “by the proceeds of the annual collection at the sermon preached at the procession of the Charity Schools”. The patrons were the Magistrates and Ministers of the City, and other inhabitants, up to 30 in all. The charity later incorporated Scotstarvet`s Mortification the rent from the latter having reached “upwards of £90 per annum”.4 The number of boys in the school was 48 in 1804 5 and “about 80” in 1826 when the rental had reached £150 per annum. “They are admitted between the ages of seven and eight, and must produce a certificate of their health”. 6 They then spent four years in the school before being apprenticed to a trade. By 1826 the boys received clothing instead of apprentice fees. “The patronage is vested jointly in the Magistrates of the Council, and in the Duchess of Portland, formerly Miss Scott, daughter of General Scott of Balcomie in the county of Fife”.7

John Buchanan who owned the Dalmarnock estate in Lanarkshire in the late eighteenth century was a Governor of Wilson`s School and was also director of the Buchanan Society. He was Member of Parliament for Dunbartonshire from 1821 to 1826. He purchased an estate in Balloch and built Balloch Castle on it. His son-in-law Robert Findlay, a tobacco merchant, was also a Governor of Wilson`s School. 8

At one time, Wilson`s School was located north of the Trongate and Wilson Street got its name from the institution. Wilson Street is listed in the Glasgow Directory as early as 1799. However, “The governors have lately erected a handsome school-house near the head of Montrose Street. It is in a very airy situation and has an extensive open area in front”.9

Wilson`s School closed in 1887 and may have amalgamated with other “Charity Schools” in Glasgow. The following is a listing from the Glasgow Post office Directory of 1886/7;

“Montrose Street, 87, Wilson`s C. School for Boys; Liddell, George, teacher,

McDonald, Misses, Morton, Miss”.

There is no listing for 87 Montrose Street in 1887/8 and in 1888/9 the listing is;

“Montrose Street, 87, Children`s Shelter, Pirie, A.”

The building remained a Children`s Shelter until the early 1930s but fell out of use thereafter and was eventually demolished to allow for expansion of the Royal Technical College.


  1. Account of Bursaries in the University of Glasgow, 1792.djvu/12
  2. Denholm, James. A History of the City of Glasgow and Suburbs. 1804
  3. Account of Bursaries in the University of Glasgow, 1792.djvu/12
  4. Chapman, Robert. The Picture of Glasgow. 1812
  5. Denholm, James. A History of the City of Glasgow and Suburbs. 1804
  6. Glasgow Delineated, Second Edition, 1826, Wardlaw and Cunninghame.
  7. ibid
  8. Lee, A. Seekers of Truth, Emerald Group Publishing, 2006 (Google)
  9. Glasgow Delineated, Second Edition,  Wardlaw and Cunninghame. 1826

Appendix 2

Figure 7. The Bailie, No.2478 1920. Mitchell Library, Glasgow GC052 BA1.

Four Glasgow women, identified only by their husbands’ names, were awarded the MBE in 1920 in recognition of their work on the Ladies’ Committee set up by Glasgow Corporation to look after Belgian refugees during the First World War.

Following the occupation of most of their country by German forces in 1914, around 20,000 Belgian refugees fled to Scotland, and a large number settled in Glasgow. City Assessor Alex Walker was secretary and treasurer of the committee of magistrates which helped find them homes and raise funds for their maintenance; he freely acknowledged that his work would have been impossible without the assistance of his wife. The other three ladies were all wives of magistrates.

The caricatures appeared in The Bailie, which noted: “The honours that have been so worthily bestowed on these four ladies are more than mere personal recognitions of merit. The awards may be regarded in a wider sense as an honour to the vast multitude of women workers who toiled unremittingly in the service of the country during the whole of the war.”

Thomas Hunt (1854 – 1929)

In 1913 the artist Thomas Hunt donated to Glasgow Museums a painting, Patchwork, accession number 1325, by his late wife Helen Russell Salmon. This report contains biographical notes on both artists.

Thomas Hunt was born in Skipton, Yorkshire in 1854 [1], the sixth child of ten, [2],[3] of John Hunt and his wife Betty (nee Wood) who married in 1848 [4]. John’s main occupation was as a limestone merchant and canal carrier, and he had also been an inspector of tolls.[5] In 1877 he stood for election as a Liberal candidate in the South Ward of Leeds, duly winning by 34 votes.[6] He remained as a councillor until 1892 when he retired from politics.[7] He died in 1900, age 81, leaving an estate valued at £1034 7s 3d, probate being granted to his sons Richard and Henry.[8]

Thomas initially started out as commercial clerk [9] probably working for his father, however by the age of 21 he had become a full-time artist having been inspired to do so after attending an International Art Exhibition in Leeds at the age of 15.[10] There is reference in a Scottish Art Dictionary to him studying in Paris under Raphael Collins, receiving an honorable mention at the Paris Salon in 1905, and attending the Glasgow School of Art and the Leeds equivalent.[11] However there is no record of him attending the Glasgow school [12] nor has any better source been identified which confirms his connection with the Leeds School or Paris. By 1879 he was living at 113 West Regent Street in Glasgow,[13] that address consisting of a number of offices, housing professional people such as architects, writers and accountants, and six artist studios, one of which he occupied.[14] In 1884 another studio at that address was occupied by the artist Helen Russell Salmon, whom he eventually married a few years later.[15]

Helen, born in 1855 in Glasgow,[16] was the daughter of the architect James Salmon, whose company James Salmon and Son, between 1862 and 1903, was involved with the building of a number of public and professional structures in Glasgow and elsewhere, including schools, churches, banks and hospitals. He first made his name with the building of St. Matthew’s Church in Bath Street and building, for Archibald McLennan, an art warehouse in Miller Street.[17] In 1854 Salmon was commissioned by Alexander Dennistoun to design the new east end suburb of Dennistoun, a design not fully realized,[18] where, by 1871 the Salmon family was resident at 3 Broompark Circus.[19] They were however unsuccessful participants in the competition for the City Chambers in George Square in 1880, and also for alterations to the Virginia Street side of the Trades House in 1882.[20] James was the co-founder of the Glasgow Architectural Society in 1858 and was a Baillie of Glasgow between 1864 and 1872. [21] His wife was Helen Russell whom he married in 1837 in Edinburgh.[22]

In the census of 1871 daughter Helen Russell Salmon is recorded as a scholar living in the family home.[23] In 1874 she is listed in the Glasgow School of Art student catalogue, during which year she won a local competition, ‘Stage 6b, figure shaded from flat, book prize.’[24] Where she was resident at that time is not listed in the school records however by 1881 she is living with her sister Margaret and her husband David Miller in Bridge of Allan and is described as an artist.[25] Her father, now a widower, her mother having died in January 1881,[26] continued to live at Broompark Circus with two of Helen’s siblings.[27] Her usual residence for the next few years is unclear, however from 1882 to 1883 she had a studio at 101 St Vincent before moving to 113 St Vincent Street in 1884, at which address she painted from until 1888.[28] It’s quite possible that she also lived at these addresses at varying times however when she married Thomas Hunt on 27th October 1887, her usual residence was given as 3 Broompark Circus which is where her marriage took place.[29]

In 1891 Tom and Helen were living In Garelochhead, [30] where she died in August of that year having been ill with phthisis (tuberculosis) for two years.[31] In the 1891 census her occupation is not recorded which perhaps suggests she had ceased to paint some time before then due to her illness. Patchwork, which was painted in 1888,[32] and was exhibited at the Royal Glasgow Institutes of the Fine Arts in 1889 [33] was one of her last works.

In a letter dated 29th January 1948 to John Fleming, Deputy Director of Kelvingrove Art Gallery, from Robert Lillie, founder of the Lillie Gallery in Milngavie, [34] the subject of the painting is identified as Miss Annie Elizabeth Nisbet, the adopted daughter of John Nisbet, church officer of St John’s Church in George Street, Glasgow, and his wife Agnes.[35] In the letter, which tells of her death, she is described as the ‘Belle of St John’s’. In 1900 she married Robert Arbuckle Mackie, her adoptive parents being deceased by then.[36] She died, aged 80 in January 1948.[37]

Figure 1 ‘Patchwork;’ Helen Russell Salmon 1888.     © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.(

Helen had 23 paintings exhibited by the Glasgow Institute between 1882 and 1891, the last  of which were painted in 1889, and two, Madge and Wallflowers which were completed at her home in Garelochhead, in 1891.[38]She also had her work exhibited by the Royal and Royal Scottish Academies between 1884 and 1890.[39]

In 1935 the Catalogue of the Pictures in the Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries, page 205, carried a short biography of Helen in which it stated she had trained in Paris. Also included were details of her painting Patchwork.[40]

In 1982 an exhibition in the Collins Exhibition Hall of Strathclyde University was held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Glasgow Society of Lady Artists. The catalogue of the exhibition, which also took place at the Fine Art Society premises in Edinburgh later that year, included on page 23 a black and white illustration of one of Helen’s paintings.[41]

Tom eventually moved back to Glasgow and by 1895 was living at 219 West George Street.[42] Between then and his death he stayed at various Glasgow addresses including Holland Street,[43] Bath Street,[44] and finally Hill Street in Garnethill.

He was elected a member of the Glasgow Art Club in 1879, became vice president in 1883 and was club president in 1906-1907.[45]

Figure 2 Tom Hunt drawn by Wat Miller of the Glasgow Art Club. Courtesy of the Glasgow Art Club

He exhibited at the club and elsewhere including the Burns Exhibition of 1896 in Glasgow where his paintings A Winter’s Night and Alloway Kirk were shown,[46] the annual RSW shows, and also several times from 1881 at the Royal Academy in London and the Royal Scottish Academy.[47] He also exhibited at the Royal Glasgow Institutes of the Fine Arts yearly between 1879 and 1929 with a total of 138 paintings being shown during this period, the last three of which were posthumous.

The prices of his paintings during these exhibitions were anywhere between £30 and £300.[48] His wife Helen’s were typically priced at under £30.[49]

He was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW) in 1885 [50] and was made an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy (ASRA) in 1929.[51]

He is represented in the museums of Sheffield, Leeds, Perth and Kinross, Paisley, Inverclyde, South Ayrshire and the Hunterian in Glasgow. There are three of his paintings in Glasgow Museums: Corner of Hope Street and Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, gifted 1917, accession number 1444, A Few Remarks’ gifted 1939, accession number 2124, and November, Braes of Balquidder purchased 1914, accession number 1343.[52]

He died of pnuemonia on the 13th March 1929 in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, his usual residence being given as 156 Hill Street. His death was registered by E.E. Smith his niece from Leeds.[53] His estate was valued at £1889 12s 3d and on the 15th August his fellow artists Joseph Morris Henderson and Archibald Kay, were confirmed as his executors.[54]

[1] Births (PR) England. Skipton, Yorkshire. 1st Qtr 1854. HUNT, Thomas. England & Wales Births 1837-2006 Transcriptions.

[2] Census. 1861 England. Leeds, Yorkshire. ED 9, Schedule 47, piece 3371, folio 51, page 10.

[3] Census. 1871 England. Leeds, Yorkshire. ED 9, Schedule 23, piece 4543, folio 6, page 5.

[4] Marriages (PR) England. Leeds, St Peter, Yorkshire. 29 August 1848. HUNT. John and WOOD, Betty. Collection: West Yorkshire, England, Marriages and Banns 1813-1935.

[5] Census. 1861 England. Leeds, Yorkshire. ED 9, Schedule 47, piece 3371, folio 51, page 10. and Census. 1871 England. Leeds, Yorkshire. ED 9, Schedule 23, piece 4543, folio 6, page 5.

[6] Leeds Mercury. (1877) Election Results. Leeds Mercury. 3 November 1877. Supplement p.1a. Collection: 19th Century British Newspapers. National Library of Scotland.

[7] Leeds Times, (1892) Municipal Elections. Leeds Times. 22 October 1892. p.5f

[8] Testamentary Records. England.6 April 1900. HUNT, John. Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the grants of probate. p.275. Collection: National Probate Calendar

[9] Census. 1871 England. Leeds, Yorkshire. ED 9, Schedule 23, piece 4543, folio 6, page 5.

[10] Eyre-Todd, George. (1909). Who’s Who in Glasgow 1909. Glasgow: Gowan and Grey. Collection: Glasgow Digital Library.

[11] McEwan, Peter J M (1994). Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors Club. Mitchell Library reference: f.709.411. MCE

[12] Grant, Jocelyn. (2015) Thomas Hunt and Helen Russell Salmon. E-mail to George Manzor, 30 November 2015.

[13] Billcliffe, Roger (1991). The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts 1861-1998: A Dictionary of Exhibitors at the Annual Exhibitions. Vol. 2. Mitchell Library (Glasgow) reference: f.709.411.074 Roy.

[14] Valuation Rolls. 1885. Scotland, Glasgow, West Regent Street, HUNT, Thomas. GROS Data VR102/335/171.

[15] Billcliffe, Roger (1992). The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts 1861-1998: A Dictionary of Exhibitors at the Annual Exhibitions. Vol. 4. Mitchell Library (Glasgow) reference: f.709.411.074 Roy.

[16] Births (CR) Scotland. Central District, Glasgow. 17 October 1855. SALMON, Helen Russell GROS Data 644/01 1358.

[17] Dictionary of Scottish Architects.

[18] Dennistoun Conservation Society.

[19] Census 1871 Scotland. Springburn, Glasgow. GROS Data 644/02 100/00 022).

[20] Dictionary of Scottish Architects.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Marriages (PR) Scotland. Edinburgh, Midlothian. 20 March 1837. SALMON, James and RUSSELL, Helen. GROS Data 685/01 0650 0219.

[23] Census 1871 Scotland. Springburn, Glasgow. GROS Data 644/02 100/00 022).

[24] Grant, Jocelyn. (2015) Thomas Hunt and Helen Russell Salmon. E-mail to George Manzor, 30 November 2015.

[25] Census 1881 Scotland. Logie, Bridge of Allan. GROS Data 374/00 003/00 001.

[26] Deaths (CR) Scotland. 19 January 1881. SALMON, Helen. GROS Data 644/03 0107.

[27] Census 1881 Scotland. Springburn, Glasgow. GROS Data 644/03 037/00 017.

[28] Billcliffe, Roger (1992). The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts 1861-1998: A Dictionary of Exhibitors at the Annual Exhibitions. Vol. 4. Mitchell Library (Glasgow) reference: f.709.411.074 Roy.

[29] Marriages (CR) Scotland. Dennistoun, Lanark. 27 October 1887. HUNT, Thomas and SALMON, Helen Russell. GROS Data 644/03 0383.

[30] Census 1891 Scotland. Row, Garelochhead. GROS Data 503/00 013/00 009.

[31] Deaths (CR) Scotland. 5 August 1891. HUNT, Helen Russell. GROS Data 503/00 0124.

[32] BBC My Paintings.

[33] Billcliffe, Roger (1992). The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts 1861-1998: A Dictionary of Exhibitors at the Annual Exhibitions. Vol. 4. Mitchell Library reference: (Glasgow) f.709.411.074 Roy.

[34] East Dunbartonshire Leisure + Culture.

[35] Lillie, Robert. (1948) Letter to John Fleming. 29 January. GMRC Archives and Object file.

[36] Marriages (CR) Scotland. Blythswood, Glasgow. 26 September 1900. MACKIE, Robert Arbuckle and Nisbet, Annie Elizabeth. GROS Data 644/07 0994.

[37] Deaths (CR) Scotland. Milton, Glasgow. 26 January 1948. MACKIE, Annie Elizabeth. GROS Data 644/10 0045.

[38] Billcliffe, Roger (1992). The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts 1861-1998: A Dictionary of Exhibitors at the Annual Exhibitions. Vol. 4. Mitchell Library reference (Glasgow): f.709.411.074 Roy.

[39] McEwan, Peter J M (1994). Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors Club. Mitchell Library reference: f.709.411. MCE

[40] GMRC Object File – Helen Russell Salmon.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Valuation Rolls. 1895. Scotland, Glasgow, West George Street, HUNT, Thomas. GROS Data VR102/463/167.

[43] Census 1911 Scotland. Blythswood, Glasgow. GROS Data 644/11 033/00 031.

[44] Valuation Rolls. 1925. Scotland, Glasgow, Bath Street, HUNT, Thomas. GROS Data VR102/1368/274.

[45] Macaskill. D.K. (2015) Glasgow Art Club Minute Books. E-mail to George Manzor, 26 June 2015.

[46] (1898) Memorial Catalogue of the Burns Exhibition 1896.  Glasgow: William Hodge & Co. and T & R Annan & Sons.

[47] McEwan, Peter J M (1994). Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors Club. Mitchell Library reference: f.709.411. MCE

[48] Billcliffe, Roger (1991). The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts 1861-1998: A Dictionary of Exhibitors at the Annual Exhibitions. Vol. 2. Mitchell Library reference (Glasgow): f.709.411.074 Roy.

[49] Billcliffe, Roger (1992). The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts 1861-1998: A Dictionary of Exhibitors at the Annual Exhibitions. Vol. 4. Mitchell Library reference (Glasgow): f.709.411.074 Roy.

[50] Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour.

[51] Billcliffe, Roger (1991). The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts 1861-1998: A Dictionary of Exhibitors at the Annual Exhibitions. Vol. 2. Mitchell Library reference: f.709.411.074 Roy.

[52] BBC My Paintings.

[53] Deaths (CR) Scotland. Dennistoun, Glasgow. 13 March 1929. HUNT, Thomas GROS Data 644/04 0530.

[54] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 15 August 1929. HUNT, Thomas. Scotland, National Probate Index (Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories), 1876-1939. . www.anc

George Sheringham (1884-1937)

Figure 1. George Sheringham 1927 – (c National Portrait Gallery, London under Creative Commons Licence)

George Sheringham was born in London on 13th November 1884. (1) His father was an Anglican clergyman and vicar of Tewksbury Abbey. George was educated at Kings School, Gloucester and studied art at The Slade, London and The Sorbonne in Paris. He was interested in art at from early age and the decorative arts became a lifelong passion. He first exhibited at the Paris Salon and his work was subsequently exhibited in London, Ghent, Brussels, Melbourne and New York. (2) He specialised in flower paintings but he is probably best remembered as a theatre set designer, especially for designs for The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company.

George married Sybil Mengens in 1912. Sybil was born in Calcutta (Kolkata) and was living in Hampshire with her parents at the time of her marriage. (3) When George died in 1937 she gifted the watercolour Faded Roses painted by Charles Rennie MacKintosh to Glasgow. 

Figure 2. Faded Roses, Charles Rennie Mackintosh 1905 (© CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection)

Faded Roses was painted in 1905 and, as the title suggests, represents roses in a state of decay and depicted in a rather sombre colour scheme. It was painted at a time when MacKintosh had little work and may reflect his mood at that period. Mackintosh is well known for his architecture and interior design but when he moved to Walberswick, Surrey in 1914 he produced a series of watercolours depicting stylised flowers. In 1915 he moved to Chelsea, a fashionable, artistic district of London and socialised with many artists and designers, including George Sheringham and his wife Sybil, who was now a successful artist in her own right. (4) It was in 1923 that MacKintosh gifted Faded Roses to Sybil prior to leaving for France

There is a pencil sketch of George Sheringhame, drawn by Powys Evans in 1921, in The National Portrait Gallery in London,. Evans was a caricaturist who made numerous sketches of Sheringham.

In 1925 George was awarded the Paris Grand Prix, both for architectural decoration and for theatre design.(5) He also illustrated books including The Happy Hypocrite by Max Beerbolm.

Figure3. Drury Lane Theatre 1800, design for decorative panel, Claridges Hotel – permission of British Museum under Creative Commons attribution.

As a decorator he designed the music room at 40 Devonshire House, London and the ballroom at Claridges Hotel. He also completed a striking series of large paintings for the 8th Lord Howard de Walden (Baron Seaford), entitled The Cauldron of Anwyn, to illustrate his Celtic poem, probably for Seaford House in Belgravia. The house was being remodelled and included a fine onyx staircase from South American marble and it is said that to ensure the finest quality possible he purchased the quarry.(6)

Figure 4. Baptism of Dylan, Son of the Wave from The cauldron of Anwyn (c.1902)

Sheringham became an authority on Chinese art and much of his work shows this influence. He designed fans,  which illustrate his thoughts on the fundamental differences between Western and Far Eastern art. In an article in The Studio magazine of January 1936 he describes how he thinks Western art is limiting in its scientific approach ‘science has put a fence around art ‘(the frame), whereas Eastern art, especially from China, expresses ideas in limitless detail (scroll paintings only finish when the meaning is complete). He explains…’Meaning being the very essence, the beginning, end and centre of all the greater Eastern Works of Art’. He criticises James McNeill Whistler’s paintings which combined eastern and western influences…’Whistler may be said to have missed the main underlying tradition of Eastern Art, for he snatches at Japanese fundamental insistence on perfection of arrangement; and discarded meaning’.(7)

Sheringham was particularly interested in flower painting influenced by a Chinese style. In The Studio he wrote an article entitled The Flower Sculptures of China which refers to work in jade (usually in the most sought after white colour) and which both George and Sybil collected. An image in the magazine of a rose-coloured peony is described as ‘capturing the essence of the flower, not just copying it’ and was part of Sybil’s collection. The illustrated watercolour by George  is included in The Studio article is entitled simply Flower Painting and was commissioned, among other artists, to hang in the newly launched Queen Mary.(8)

DR The Studio Jan 1936 P143
Figure 5. The Studio Magazine, January 1936, p.143“©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections”

Sheringham also designed woodblock prints and received lessons from Ernest A Taylor, one of the Glasgow Boys painters who was living in Hampstead at the time and who was closely connected to Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style. . Although Sheringham may never have visited Glasgow he was much influenced by these artists with a Glasgow connection.

Another influence in Sheringham’s life was music which inspired much of his life, and his work for D’oyly Carte Opera Company would have combined his love of art and music together.  Mention has already been made of Whistler who was also influenced by music and many of his paintings were entitled ‘arrangements’ or ‘harmonies’. 

Sheringham’s fluid rhythmic style of painting was influenced by the rhythm of life, in the way plants grew and seasons changed, and in later life this aspect became more important. Indeed his last completed painting was titled ‘Jungle Rythm’. James Duncan Fergusson, one of the ‘Scottish Colourists’, had a similar interest and they knew each other when Fergusson was living in London. Fergusson produced a magazine called ‘Rythm’ while he was in Paris.

In 1936 The Royal Society of Arts established the Royal Designers for Industry Award and Sheringham was one of the first artists to receive the accolade in 1937.

George Sheringham died at his Hampstead home on 11th November 1937 and in the following year Sybil presented Faded Rose to Glasgow. Sybil passed away on 8th August 1942 at Golders Green London.



(1), births

(2) Obituaries, The Times, 12th November 1937

(3) The Modernist Journals Project (Brown University and The University of Tulsa)

(4) Glasgow Museums, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Kaplan Wendy 1996, p305

(5) Obituaries, The Times, 12th November 1937


(7) The Studio, January 1936, p5

(8) The Studio, January 1936, p8