Lawrence MacDonald ~ Sculptor

Lawrence MacDonald (1799-1878) ~ sculptor, was born on 15 February 1799 at Bonnyview, Findo Gask, Perthshire. As a youth, he undertook an apprenticeship with a local mason. By 1822, he was in Edinburgh employed as an ornamental carver. A relocation to Rome sponsored by the Oliphants of Gask saw him working as a sculptor of busts. He helped to found the British Academy of Arts in 1822-23. Together with John Gibson and Richard James Wyatt, he was part of the neo-classical Anglo-Roman school. He moved back to Edinburgh in 1826 and presented several important exhibitions which were well received. Of note was his 1829 Royal Institution of Edinburgh exhibition of the plaster group, Ajax and Patroclus. A print of this work appeared on the cover of The Scotsman. He was elected to the Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland and the Royal Scottish Academy (1829). A second move to Rome in 1832 saw him established as a significant sculptor producing busts of well-known figures including Walter Scott. Both his older brother and son worked with him in his studio (piazza Barberini). Other significant work includes: Eurydice (1837; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin); Hyacinthus (1852; Royal Collection); and the reclining figure of the Countess of Winchilsea (1850; Victoria & Albert Museum, London). His work though neo-classical was a combination of traditional imagery with modern featuring. Lawrence MacDonald died 4 March 1878 in Rome and lies in that city’s Protestant cemetery. His tombstone was carved by his son Alexander.