Alexander Proudfoot

Sculptor

Alexander Proudfoot (1878–1957), was a noted sculptor, born in Liverpool to Scottish parents. He studied at Glasgow School of Art and in 1901 described himself as a stone mason. 1 He won the Haldane Travelling Scholarship in 1908, the following year, exhibited at the celebration of the 'completion ... and the opening of the new portion' of the School of Art, and in 1912 joined the School staff, as head of sculpture. 2

Proudfoot received commissions included the Greyfriars Tercentenary Memorial, Edinburgh, and a marble mural tablet in Wishaw Parish Church (both 1912). 3 He exhibited a plaster study of a head in Liverpool in 1913, spent time in America, and worked on Dunfermline’s Carnegie Library. 4

On election to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1920, his biography related: ' His "Bomb Thrower" (statuette) attracted notice. First-hand acquaintance [permitted] a realistic impression.'; Proudfoot had served with the Artists Rifles in France, where 'latterly his artistic skill was employed in the modelling of relief maps'. 5 He also invented a protractor for setting the American-designed Lewis machine gun, 'for use specially in attack by infantry.' 6

In the early 1920s, Proudfoot collaborated with architect Alexander Wright, a fellow veteran, on war memorials at Bearsden and Greenock. 7 In 1937, Wright designed, and Proudfoot again sculpted, the 'massively simple' memorial to the dashing adventurer, writer, politician and fellow Glasgow Art Club member R. B. Cunninghame Graham, at Castlehill, Dumbarton. 8

Notes:

1: Birth and census information, www.ancestry.co.uk and www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 20 August 2012].

2: Ray McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2002, p. 495; Scotsman, 15 December 1909, p. 8; The Times, 11 July, 1957, p. 15.

3: Scotsman, 8 October 1912, p. 10; 16 December 1912, p. 12.

4: Scotsman, 4 October 1913, p. 7; 18 March 1920, p. 6; Ray McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2002, p. 495.

5: Scotsman, 18 March 1920, p. 6; David Cohen Fine Art, London, 'The Bomber', Sale Catalogue, Ref. 1964, www.dfa.com [accessed 20 August 2012].

6: Called 'Lewis gun' in contemporary account, Scotsman, 18 March 1920, p. 6; Called 'Vickers' gun, 40 years later, The Times, 11 July, 1957, p. 15.

7: Morag Cross, Wylie Shanks Architects: A Centenary Retrospective 1912–2012, Glasgow: Wylie Shanks Architects LLP, 2012, p. 4.

8: Scotsman, 30 August 1937, p. 10.