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William Birnie Rhind
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David McNay
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 3:52 pm    Post subject: William Birnie Rhind Reply with quote

Birnie Rhind is responsible for some of my favourite memorials, for example the Black Watch South African War memorial on the Mound in Edinburgh among others. It's interesting that I've not seen any First World War memorials by him.

Here's a biography of him taken from glasgowsculpture.com:

"A Prolific, Edinburgh born sculptor, Birnie Rhind is best known for his Boer War Memorials in Edinburgh, such as the Royal Scots Greys (1905), the Black Watch (1908) and the Kings Own Scottish Borderers (1919), but was principally an architectural sculptor, with most of his important work also in Edinburgh.
The eldest son of John Rhind , with whom he trained before attending the School of Design and RSA , he established a studio in Glasgow at 217 West George Street, 1885-7, with his sculptor brother J Massey Rhind, then settled permanently in Edinburgh where he produced sculpture for the SNPG (1898); The Scotsman Building (1900); the Professional & Civil Service Supply Association, George Street (1903-7) and Jenners, Princes Street (1893-1903).

A little known Edinburgh work was the seated, bronze statue of James Walker, Chairman of the North British Railway Company, which won a competition against other Scottish sculptors in 1896. The statue was originally placed in a niche in Waverley Station then later moved to Glasgow's Transport Museum.

Outwith Scotland he executed sculpture on Wakefield County Council Offices (1897), Liverpool Cotton Exchange (1905-6) and Winnipeg Parliament Building, Canada (1916-19).

His public work includes statues to William Johnston, St. Anne's (1888); Sir Peter Coats and Thomas Coats, Paisley (1893-8); the Boer War Memorial at Alloa (1904), and the equestrian Marquis of Linlithgow, Melbourne, Australia (1908).

In Glasgow, he executed architectural sculpture which was grealy influenced by Michelangelo in style and subject, and one public monument.

This uncludes the allegorical figures on Charing Cross Mansions, (1889-91); Cumming & Smith's Furniture Warehouse, 128-52 Sauchiehall Street (1891-2); the sculpture on the former Sun Life Building, 117-21 West George Street (1889-94); the statue representing Science on Kelvingrove Art Gallery (1898); the figures and heraldic panel on the former National Bank of Scotland, 2-4 Glassford Street (1902-3) and the HLI Memorial, Kelvingrove Park (1906).

The model for the latter was Peter Tainsh-Hardie, an assistant in Rhind's studio, who also posed for the Black Watch Statue on The Mound, Edinburgh (Scots Magazine [Letters], January, 1987, p. 398).

Tainsh-Hardie was identified as the model by his son, also Peter Tainsh-Hardie, the author of the above letter, who gave a unique insight into Rhind's personality and practice:

"[Birnie Rhind] was a hard task master to work for and rather tight-fisted with money. He would not, for instance, employ a model when he had a studio full of his own craftsmen", hence the models' employment for this and his other military memorials.

The correspondent was also used as a model for part of the sculpture scheme on the Government Buildings in Ottawa, when, as a child, he posed as a naked putto leaning on the lap of a seated female model.

Another insight into the sculptor's personality was given by J P Macgillivray who described him as "a pig of the most obtuse kind".

He exhibited regularly at RSA , 1878-1934, showing portrait busts and models for many of his public and architectural sculptures, and at RGIFA , 1888-1908, and RA , 1898-1904.

He was elected an ARSA , 1893, and RSA , 1905.

Birnie Rhind is buried in his family grave Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh, which is marked with a monument bearing a double portrait medallion of his father and mother, whose maiden name, Birnie, was given to him as his middle name.

The monument was produced by his brother, J.M. Rhind."

The biography, plus images of his other work, can be found
here.
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jamiemcginlay



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The above surprisingly doesn't mention the Black Watch Monument at Aberfeldy which was also one of Rhinds. Alexander Carrick worked as an apprentice in Rhind's yard and found him 'a very aloof character' who basically ignored him after he had become an established artists in his own right. I think Carrick must have gained some influence from working for Rhind though and I'm sure that the design of the sculpture for Carrick's war memorial for Newburgh in Fife may be a tribute to Rhind's Aberfeldy monument.
Rhind was getting on by the end of WWI but he was responsible for at least two memorials that I know of.
Kelty in Fife

and Buckie up in the North East


Last edited by jamiemcginlay on Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:02 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Adam Brown
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Kelty figure bears a striking resemblance to the one in Prestonpans



See post on memorial here:

http://warmemscot.s4.bizhat.com/viewtopic.php?t=41

Unfortunately my photo of the rear of the memorial only takes in the names and does not show the sculptor's signature.

Adam
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jamiemcginlay



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spot on Adam! I'm sure I've heard that Prestonpans was a Rhind sculpture and it looks like he's simply used the Kelty body and changed the head. I don't know what the pose is supposed to represent! It reminds me of that trenches song 'We're here because we're here because we're here because we're here!' I remember he was supposed to have been also responsible for the Buckie memorial (1924), the war memorial at Fettes College in Edinburgh, and a colossal group for the Wallasey war memorial. I've never seen any of them so don't know. I think Rhinds approach was probably dated by the 1920's, the Portsoy memorial is very reminiscent of his Boer War Memorials and I don't think that would have seemed as appropriate after WWI. He exhibited a sketch model at the 1918 RSA exhibition entitled 'Wha Daur Meddle Wi' Me', the figure of a King's Own Scottish Borderer and I'd have liked to see that!
I'm also sure there are other Rhind war memorials out there but because he was a monumental sculptor he isn't considered important enough to research.
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Adam Brown
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim

I stopped at Kelty several years ago for petrol and two things stand out in my mind. The strange way the locals mangle their vowels and the war memorial. Iíve always wanted to go back because I remember being impressed by the statue but couldnít remember what it looked like.

The main difference between Prestonpans and Kelty is that the former is a Royal Scot in trousers and the Kelty statue is a Highlander in a kilt. Both have 1914 pattern leather equipment rather than the usual 1908 web equipment. This is unusual on a memorial. I wonder which one he did first.

I have a photo of the Fettes memorial and I will post it once Iíve downloaded it. Iím afraid I concentrated on the names and not the statue so there are no close ups.

Regards

Adam


Last edited by Adam Brown on Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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Adam Brown
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I work quite near Warriston so when the weather gets better I'll try and get a photo of his grave.

Unfortunately Warriston cemetery is pretty run down and the old part has been left to go wild.

The old part has also been taken over by dog walkers and the local gay Ďcottagersí. Something I only found out when I visited the cemetery after work a couple of summers ago. There were quite a few men in baggy trousers and no dogs. I thought they didnít look much like genealogists and when the penny dropped I made a hasty exit. I havenít been back since!

Cheers

Adam
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Adam Brown
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found one of Fettes in my photobucket:



Sorry I've no close-ups.

Adam
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DerekR
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the military service record of the sculptor William Beattie, I found a letter signed by a Duncan Rhind which was sent to Thomas Beattie, William's father in 1919.
The letter began "My dear Beattie" so there was obviously a connection between the two. The letter was stamped with a Ministry of Pensions mark and ended with the line "I have as you say got a good job here in the meantime, but I am anxious to get back to my profession, when it is ready to come back to me. When that will be goodness knows"

It is very interesting that someone with the surname of Rhind know the Beattie's personally.
Would Duncan Rhind be one of the famous sculptor clan?

See William Beattie
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Adam Brown
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are a couple of photos of the Royal Scots Greys memorial on Princes Street in Edinburgh. I haven't been able to get a good photo of this memorial yet.

Hopefully someone else can post something better soon.





Adam
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Adam Brown
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam Brown wrote:
I work quite near Warriston so when the weather gets better I'll try and get a photo of his grave


I went to Warriston Cemetery yesterday but it was the usual mess. I thought I had a good idea where the grave was but I couldn't find it. If we can find out it's location in Warriston I can have another go.

Adam
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DerekR
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



A Birnie Rhind scupture I found in a private residence in the Borders. His name can just be made out to the left of the portrait.
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DerekR
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

William Birnie Rhind is also said to be responsible for the Hawick Boer War Memorial.


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dhubthaigh
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NOTES FROM THE SCOTTISH DICTIONARY OF ARCHITECTS
Name: South African War Memorial
Town, district or village: Hawick
City or county: Roxburghshire
Country: Scotland
Parish:
Status:
Grid ref:
Notes: Strang gives W Birnie Rhind as the sculptor, whilst Cruft et al give his brother Thomas Duncan Rhind.
Alternative Names
The following alternative names are associated with this building/design:
Name Current name? Notes
Boer War Memorial Yes
Patriotic Memorial Yes

Building Type Classification
The building is classified under the following categories:
Classification Original classification? Notes
War memorial Yes

Events
The following date-based events are associated with this building:
From To Event type Notes
1903 Design exhibited

People
Design and Construction
The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
Name Role Partnership Group From To Notes
Alexander Lorne Campbell Architect A 1903
J N Scott & A Lorne Campbell (or Scott & Campbell) Practice A 1903
John Nichol Scott Architect A 1903
(Sir) Thomas Duncan Rhind Architect A? 1903 Sculpture? - possibly by William Birnie Rhind
William Birnie Rhind Sculptor A? 1903 Sculpture? - possibly by Thomas Duncan Rhind
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DerekR
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like I'm going to have to go and see if I can find a sculpture's mark on it.
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Adam Brown
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to Caroline Gerard's directions I finally managed to find WBH's grave in Warriston Cemetery today. The Cemetery is in a shocking state (and has been for some years) the Rhind family stone is still standing but has seen better days. As you can see someone has cleared some of the ivy off it before my visit but it is still encroaching. In this part of the sprawling cemetery the council is doing nothing to maintain it.

William's name is second from bottom after his parents and siblings.



You can see the signature of his brother J. Massey Rhind on the medallion







Adam
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