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No ordinary sculptor

30/12/2008

Alexander Stoddart was today announced as Her Majesty's Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland, one of only two posts for the arts in the Royal Household in Scotland.

It is a lifetime appointment which recognises Mr Stoddart's outstanding contribution to Scotland's culture and demonstrates the high regard in which his work is held.

Welcoming Her Majesty's approval of Scottish Ministers' recommendation Culture Minister Linda Fabiani said:

"Warmest congratulations to Sandy on this fantastic achievement and this wholly justified recognition of his outstanding talent. I am a great admirer of Sandy's work and consider it proper that his unusually classical style has been recognised as just as relevant today as it was in Sir John Steell's day.

"Sandy is celebrated as a modern artist whose work celebrates Scotland's history of great achievements. The subjects of many of his works are our great minds and innovators whose contributions to the world we will be celebrating next year. As Scotland prepares to welcome home thousands of Scots for the Homecoming Scotland 2009 celebrations, talented artists like Sandy continue to bring our history and culture alive through the creativity and quality of their work.

"So it is fitting that 'Alexander Stoddart: Drawings and Models' will be on show at the University of Glasgow's Hunterian Museum as part of next year's nationwide programme of Homecoming events. I am sure it will provide a fascinating insight into Sandy's magnificent artworks, as well as reminding visitors of all ages of how Scots and their contributions have shaped the modern world."

Born in Edinburgh and brought up in Paisley, Alexander Stoddart continues to live and work in the town where he is based at the University of the West of Scotland's Paisley campus.

Her Majesty's Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland Alexander Stoddart said:

"To be appointed Sculptor in Ordinary to The Queen in Scotland is without doubt the highest honour any Scottish sculptor can receive, and I am perfectly thunderstruck to receive it. A uniquely national post, it comes laden with titanic past achievement, in particular the mighty Edinburgh oeuvre of the great Sir John Steell and also in the outstanding example of James Pittendrigh MacGillivray, sculptors to whom I have looked for help and instruction throughout my career.

"I should like to say that no civic monumentalist works alone. What I might have done to have this honour conferred upon me is in large part owing to the steady support and great skill of the foundrymen, plaster-workers, stone-masons and carvers, architects, planners and engineers with whom it is my privilege to work, in Scotland, England, Italy and America. My clients, and the many historians and academics with whom I have collaborated, are also due the plaudits. I should hope to be able to match the expectations implicit in this appointment in continued association with these wonderful people, to Her Majesty's satisfaction."

Her Majesty's Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland is one of only two appointments made to the Royal Household in Scotland which are arts related, the other being the position of HM Writer and Limner, held by Dame Elizabeth Blackadder since 2000. Neither office carries any defined responsibilities or remuneration.

Queen Victoria appointed Sir John Steell as her Sculptor in Scotland in 1844. Since then sculptors in the Royal Household in Scotland have been appointed to the post of Her Majesty's Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland. Previous postholders are:

  • 1881-1890 Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm
  • 1890-1921 post vacant
  • 1921-1938 Dr James Pittendrigh MacGillivray
  • 1938-1961 Sir William Dick Reid
  • 1963-1984 Benno Schotz
  • 1986-2005 Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

The exhibition 'Alexander Stoddart: Drawings and Models' will be at the Hunterian Art Gallery from May 23 until September 12, 2009.