Hew Lorimer

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Our Lady of the Isles on South Uist.
Figures on the National Library of Scotland

Hew Martin Lorimer (22 May 1907 – 1 September 1993) was a Scottish sculptor.

He 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 University, but he left Oxford prematurely to study design and sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art. After graduating in 1934, he entered an apprenticeship with sculptor and stonemason Eric Gill.

Lorimer was principally an architectural sculptor, and his profound religious beliefs had a lasting effect on his art and subject matter. After World War II, he worked on many grand sculptures, including Our Lady of the Isles, 1958, a massive granite statue of the mother and child sited at Rueval on South Uist.

Between 1950 and 1955 he also sculpted the artwork adorning the facade of the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, for which he produced a series of tall, allegorical figures, depicting history, law, medicine, music, poetry, science and theology. The architect of the library was Reginald Fairlie, with whom Lormier worked a great deal.

He was awarded an OBE in 1986 for services to architecture and conservation.

Lorimer lived in Kellie Castle in Fife, and died in a nursing home in St Andrews in 1993. He was survived by his sons, Robert and Henry, and daughter, Monica.

The castle is owned today by the National Trust for Scotland who maintain a changing exhibition of his works plus those of his father, Robert Lorimer, and his uncle, the painter John Henry Lorimer.

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