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Robert Warrack Morrison

 
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john burnett



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 793
Location: Fife

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 7:44 pm    Post subject: Robert Warrack Morrison Reply with quote

Details taken from Hidden Scotland by Ann Lindsay - He was chief sculptor with firm of David Morren and was recalled by firm from USA to do the work. Credited with Rhynie, Clatt, Lumsden, Towie, New Elgin* and Tarland* - in fact all Morren's work except Udny station which was Frank Coutts. He also undertook work from all over Scotland, England and Wales.
* I would like to see photos of these.
His other major work is in Trinity Cemetery inAberdeen for his wife who died in 1930 - it s memorial obelisk.
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jamiemcginlay



Joined: 20 Dec 2006
Posts: 939
Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello John,
Welcome to the forum and thanks for the info.
I'm just in the middle of putting together as short synopsis of Morrison's known works, with photographs. I'm also trying to contact his grandson who I met some years ago. He was researching into Morrison and hopefull he might have uncovered some more information by now. The monumental masons like Morrison are too often ignored and forgotten so it would be good to redress the balance a little.
Jim
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john burnett



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 793
Location: Fife

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Jim,
the book that I quoted says Morrison's grandson the writer and broadcaster Douglas Kynoch has brouht his work to a wider audience, but I am not aware of anything. Though something is out there. I will be interested in what you come up with. Good luck.
John
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jamiemcginlay



Joined: 20 Dec 2006
Posts: 939
Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an article on Morrison by his grandson Douglas Kynoch:
http://www.leopardmag.co.uk/feats/42/robert-morrison-king-of-the-granite-carvers

Below is the transcript of a short article on the Balydon memorial in England by Douglas Kynoch, published in the Newcastle Journal in 2008. The artricle is supplied and re-produced by kind permission of Douglas Kynoch, Copyright Douglas Kynoch.
BLAYDON WAR MEMORIAL

'As armistice services are held all over the country, wreaths are ritually laid around the local war memorial. Such memorials provide a useful focus for public remembrance of those who have died in war. Yet who remembers the men who created the memorials? There were sculptors among them; but more often they were monumental masons, humble craftsmen who performed the work of the sculptor anonymously and for a comparatively modest weekly wage.
The memorial at Blaydon-on-Tyne is a particularly fine example of the genre, erected in 1923 and unveiled by Miss Jane Cowen of Stella Hall. The report in the Blaydon Courier for April 14 that year gives credit to the “sculptors Messrs William Alexander and Sons of Elswick Road, Newcastle” and all who took part in the undertaking.
In fact, it is almost certainly the case that the company named were responsible only for the making and installation of the plinth and for engraving the names of the dead. As was often the case, the carved figure was produced elsewhere and, in this instance, appears to have been imported to North-east England from North-east Scotland.
In the village of Rhynie in Aberdeenshire stands the carved figure of a great-coated soldier indistinguishable, at first glance, from the figure in Blaydon cemetery. Clearly the work of a master craftsman, it is a much loved memorial in the area. It was erected in 1920 by the Aberdeen granite yard of Morren and Company (now long closed) and is the work of their exceptionally talented carver, Robert Warrack Morrison, whose intuitive expertise was such that he could carve a figure in six weeks rather than the three months the work would normally have taken.
Born in 1890, Morrison worked for the company for some years before going out to the granite yards of Barre, Vermont. There he would have stayed but for the outbreak of the First World War, when he returned to Scotland and worked in a munitions factory, being unfit for military service. After the war, he emigrated to the United States, meaning to bring his young wife out after him; but such was the demand for memorials from almost every town and village in the country that the Aberdeen yard brought their brilliant craftsman home again with the lure of a home loan.
The Rhynie memorial was unveiled six weeks after his return; and five other memorials in North-east Scotland can be attributed to him: two kilted figures, two Celtic crosses and an obelisk. But according to David Morren jun., the son of the yard owner who brought him home, Morrison accomplished around a dozen other memorials, which crossed the Border into Cumberland, Northumberland and Durham. Sadly, no records exist of their exact locations, these having been destroyed in a fire at the yard.
In time, however, there came to light, Derek Boorman’s study of war memorials, “At the Going Down of the Sun”, bearing numerous illustrations of 1914-18 war memorials. At first, it seemed that the Rhynie memorial was among them; but no, the familiar great-coated figure had been photographed not in Rhynie but in Blaydon, where it had been erected three years after the Rhynie unveiling.
The sculptor, Fred Watson, former lecturer at Northumbria University, considers the Blaydon figure to be “more freely carved, less smooth and less finished in certain details but done with a greater confidence and assurance than at Rhynie, more hastily and more sculpturally”. For contemporary tastes, he maintains, it is a better figure. Details on caps and bags on both figures, he has described as “work of genius, equal to any being done at the time”. Masterly points to notice are the undercutting of the bag and the hem of the greatcoat, the seam of the sleeve and the deep-cut accoutrements on the chest, all accomplished on a stone known for its uncompromising hardness.
The granite used for the Blaydon figure appears to be from North-east Scotland, possibly Kemnay stone, similar to that formerly produced in Aberdeen city.
Where in Northern England the other examples are of Morrison’s work remains a mystery. The Celtic cross at High Spen seems also to be carved from North-east Scotland granite and, though it was probably cut at the Morren yard, the design being one they used, Fred Watson believes the carving is not of sufficient quality to claim this as Morrison’s work. He was, after all, known to the Aberdeen granite trade, if to no one else, as “The King of the Carvers”.'

Copyright: Douglas Kynoch, Aberdeen, 2008


Last edited by jamiemcginlay on Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dhubthaigh
Our first ever 1000-poster


Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 5165
Location: Blairgowrie, Perthshire

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great info. Absolutley enjoyed reading that, amazing stuff.
Mark
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Adam Brown
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 7369
Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some images of these memorials.

Rhynie & Kearn



Clatt



Lumsden / Auchindoir



Towie


New Elgin. Note the carving on the kilt here.



Tarland



Also one not listed above, Oldmeldrum



Here's Udny for comparison



Is Portsoy one of his too?



And Ballachulish and Glencoe?

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ScottMorrison



Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:55 pm    Post subject: Headstone in Aberdeen cemetery Reply with quote

Hello,

My name is Scott Morrison. I am a grandson of Robert Warrack Morrison through my Father, John Morrison.

I recently visited Aberdeen and had an opportunity to visit my grandmother's plot and took a picture of her headstone. Its an amazing piece of work. I'm told the baby in the woman's arms is my Father who was the youngest of the family.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/smorrison_ca/3143797609

I don't know much else of my grandfather's work but through my cousin Douglas Kynoch.

My regards,

Scott
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Adam Brown
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 7369
Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And the headstone mentioned above from Scott's flickr page.



It is a remarkable headstone and would be well worth looking for if you are in that cemetery.

I take it that is Pittodrie in the background and it is Trinity Cemetery in Aberdeen.

Regards

Adam
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