The Friends of the William Lamb Studio (commonly known as the Friends of William Lamb) is a community group established in Montrose, Scotland in 1977. In 1978 the William Lamb Memorial Studio - William Lamb’s own working studio from 1935 until his death in 1951 - was to be re-opened and developed as a small gallery and museum to the memory of William Lamb – one of Scotland’s finest sculptor and artist - under the management of the Museum Service of Angus Council.
Friends was established to support the Council in arrange regular
openings and guided tours of the Studio, promoting both the Studio
and Lamb himself; as well as researching Lamb and all aspects of his
working life - his art pieces and models and the context in which
they were created. In addition we disseminate that information
through the sponsorship and publication of books, articles, leaflets
and guides. They have helped with funding and developing the Studio
and its collections, thereby creating an outstanding exhibition that
draws visitors from all over the world.
The William Lamb Memorial Studio is located at the east end of Trades Close a small pedestrian row that leads from the High Street, Montrose to Market Street.
Since 2019 the Lamb Studio (owned by Angus Council) is subject to new arrangements. The Friends of William Lamb will arrange and run all public Studio openings. The Studio “collections” will be managed by ANGUSalive on behalf of Angus Council – all collections queries should be addressed to Gillian.Ross@angusalive.scot
In addition the Friends share “Lamb” information through the sponsorship or publication of books, articles, leaflets and guides and through a series of non-Studio events – walks, talks and displays and exhibitions.The Friends is a community group that runs under a constitution. Membership is open to all on the payment of a small annual fee. Throughout the year Officers and Committee will arrange Studio openings, activities and special events related to the aims of the group, usually around Angus or in the Studio. These events are supported by Friends volunteers.
For further information see the relevant pages on this website, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: By contacting us digitally and thereby providing us with personal details you are agreeing to our organisation holding those details in a safe and appropriate manner. Personal information will not be passed to other organisations or individuals. It will only be used for The Friends of William Lamb to contact you directly with relevant information.
In 1759 was the birth date of Scotland’s National Bard – Rabbie Burns. Many may not know of artistic links between Lamb and Burns. Although it should be said that the Burns Statue in Montrose was probably the only “modern" sculptural piece that Lamb would have seen in the town. It was finally unveiled on September 1911 – after a campaign to fund and raise it lasting 26 years, maybe a warning to Lamb on the time that corporate Commissions might take. Mr W Birnie Rhind, a relative unknown had originally quoted £600 – a price that the Burns Club tried to hold him close to all those years later and in spite of alterations as well.
But Lamb did choose to work on two pieces of Burns himself. In 1932 the Sunderland Burns Club decided they wanted to replace their (albeit rather bland) plaster bust of Burns. Lamb was commissioned to prepare a larger than life size head and shoulder bust of Burns taken; we are told, from the 1787 Naysmith portrait that was believed to be a real likeness. It was to be mounted on a substantial stone plinth and donated from the Burns Club to Sunderland to be placed in the vestibule of the Central Library. Having already missed the 175th Burns anniversary in 1935, the death of King George V delayed the official unveiling until April 1936. But this piece is truly impressive to view – and artistically it stands between Lamb’s “royal portraits” of 1932-3 and his 4 later “Titans” which were more than life size too, but ambitiously full length.
Lamb’s second “Burns” is more of an enigma – and the Friends welcome any further information that can be provided on it. In April 1939 the press report that Lamb is working on a full length figure of Burns in his Studio. Little other is know as to whether this was a commissioned piece or not, where it was for or indeed whether the plaster was to be a model for a much larger piece. The most substantial information that we have is a photo published in the Dundee Courier of 6th April 1936, with a rather plump Lamb “working on the piece”. It appears to be a little over 4 feet high with the man standing on a slight step. He is dressed in the clothes are conventionally depicted, a jacket with waistcoat and cravat with trousers to below the knee, gaiters and rough boots. His pose is slightly more questionable with his right hand raised to the front and the other trailing to the rear it is a picture of movement. But is not clear whether Burns is about to declaim from a book in his right hand, starting dancing, or maybe is on a very brisk walk. But it certainly sits outside the more usual poses of the man seen. But then of course this is William Lamb, in Montrose, the birthplace of the Scottish Cultural Renaissance in the 1920s. This might be Lamb’s response to Catherine Carswell’s controversial biography of Burns published that spring.
With the continuing Coronavirus issues we are still not able to resume "usual activities". No dates can be set for the foreseeable future, sorry. The Group will continue to run “indoors” however and try and meet our other aim to promote William Lamb, his artworks and the Lamb Studio. So we would ask you, if possible, to continue your support. We will also continue to try and answer queries on Lamb or his artworks, please contact us through email@example.com
Please note that as Montrose Museum has been shut to the public, our temporary postal address is: Friends of William Lamb, c/o Secretary (W Sinclair), 1 Erskine St, Montrose, DD10 8HL
Best wishes are offered to all Friends and supporters for 2021. “Normal” business, inevitably, cannot be fully resumed just yet, but we will be dealing with as many queries as possible. So keep watching checking the website for new information on William Lamb, his artworks, or Friends activities.
January 12th 2021 is a significant year for all supporters of the William Lamb Studio – the 70th anniversary of the new establishment of the William Lamb Memorial Studio in 1951. On 12th January 1951 William Lamb died in Stracathro Hospital of advanced kidney disease at the early age of 57. It is reported that he had been working until shortly before his death – and indeed there are some of his “newer” artworks in the Studio. Lamb, for the first time since before World War One was moving back to creative sculpting in stone. Many people admire his earlier piece “The Whisper” a copy of which can be seen outside Montrose Library, but in the Studio itself as well as the original are two other pieces “Quarry man” and an unfinished figure of a woman. These pieces point to Lamb starting to move in new and exciting creative directions that unfortunately ceased with his death.
But critically Lamb who for many years had not owned a permanent Studio of his own, had as early as 1935, bequeathed his Market Street Studio to the Town Council (together with a collection of his outstanding artworks) – but on condition that the building was maintained as a Studio. Following the formal offer of the bequest by William Lamb’s surviving sister, Caroline, to the Town Council later that year – it came into the ownership of the Town. This has allowed the Studio to be maintained as a public gallery open to visitors – and critically for it to be used as the foundation for the creation of one of the finest collections of “single artist” sculpture and art in Western Europe, which is maintained until this day.