INTRODUCTION

Alexander Carrick was among the last of Scotland’s great monumental sculptors.  At the height of his career through the 1920’s and 1930’s he was involved in many prestigious architectural projects and was responsible for many war memorials erected after World War One.  As a teacher and later as head of sculpture at the Edinburgh College of Art he had a lasting influence on post war Scottish sculpture, especially in terms of his encouragement of the craft of carving.  As an academician his influence also helped to ensure that sculpture retained an important position within the Royal Scottish Academy.

 

Carrick was unique among the Scottish sculptors of the period and marks a turning point from the Victorian to the modern era.  Victorian and Edwardian sculptors have sometimes been described as 'gentlemen modellers' working in their studios, modelling only in clay and passing their work on to be finished by the bronze caster or stone mason, they were often divorced from the final execution of the art work, and its location.  They were also largely the product of the public school and steeped in the traditional classics based education.  Carrick, by contrast, came from an artisan background (for generations the Carricks were blacksmiths).  He combined his academic training at the Edinburgh College of Art with a traditional apprenticeship as a stone mason where he learned his skills both in the yard and on prestigious construction sites such as Edinburgh's Usher Hall.  While he did. like many of his contemporaries, use the shared language of classical mythology in his work he blended this with inspiration drawn fromthe Renaissance and Middle Ages his own ancient Scottish roots and culture, and from .  Because of this Carrick produced works which were both original and display a deep understanding of the medium in which he worked, particularly that of stone.  He had a genius for composition and his works were always in harmony with their surroundings whether architectural, historical or cultural.

 

For many years Carrick was largely forgotten, monumental and in particular figurative sculpture has become unfashionable.  When Carrick died in 1966 his fellow artists were disappointed in the small obituaries which were published to mark his death and so they composed an 'Appreciation' of his life and work which they presented to The Scotsman newspaper.  The paper rejected it.  This lack of interest has continued and today programmes on British war memorials continue to concentrate almost entirely on C.S. Jagger while discussions on Scottish sculpture usually focus on Paolozzi or Benno Schotz.  I hope that this site might redress the balance a little.  At least I hope visitors will enjoy visiting the site and find something of interest.  I would like to dedicate this site to Alexander Carrick's daughters Anne and Elizabeth, and Anne's husband Donald, who gave me so much help and support in my research.

 

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