Skip to main page content (AccessKey S)
Hew Lorimer lived from 1907 to 1993. He was a sculptor known for a number of large scale works. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Hew Lorimer was born in Edinburgh, the second son of architect Sir Robert Lorimer. He was educated at Loretto School in Musselburgh, then at Magdalen College, Oxford. However, he left Oxford early in order to study design and sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art. He graduated from the ECA in 1934, becoming an apprentice to the sculptor and stonemason Eric Gill.
Lorimer work was often monumental in approach and his religious beliefs as a Catholic strongly influenced his approach to his sculpture and his choice of subject matter. This is nowhere more obvious than the statue of Our Lady of the Isles. This 30ft high depiction in granite of the Madonna and Child was erected in South Uist on the western slope of Rueval at a height of 170ft above sea level in 1957.
Hew Lorimer is also noted for the work he did between 1950 and 1955 producing the artwork on the facade of the National Library of Scotland on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh. His statues here depict history, law, medicine, music, poetry, science and theology. Later in his life he exhibited a sculpture of Ceres, the Goddess of Harvest, at the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival.
The Lorimer family had leased Kellie Castle in Fife as a holiday home since 1878. Hew Lorimer, took over the lease in 1937 and with his wife Mary he set about bringing Kellie Castle back to life as a family home. In 1957 the owner of the castle, the Earl of Mar and Kellie, died, and his successor offered Kellie Castle for sale to Hew Lorimer: so after renting the castle for 70 years the Lorimers finally became its owners. On the death of his wife in 1970, Hew Lorimer handed Kellie Castle over to the National Trust for Scotland. He died in 1993 and his work is celebrated by an exhibition in the stables at Kellie Castle.