Lamb biography Montrose launch

Kitty Ritchie, Mae McKenzie-Smith, Jonathan Stansfeld, Lord Lieutenant Georgiana Osborne and Andrew Orr
Kitty Ritchie, Mae McKenzie-Smith, Jonathan Stansfeld, Lord Lieutenant Georgiana Osborne and Andrew Orr

More than 200 people turned out for the Montrose launch of the William Lamb biography on Monday night at Taylor’s Auction House.

‘The People’s Sculptor: The Life and Art of William Lamb (1893 - 1951)’ by John Stansfeld was firstly launched at a prestigious event in Edinburgh last month, and since then more than 800 copies of the book have been ordered out.

Around 200 copies were sold at the event on Monday (October 7), with the author signing them. It sold out in its first week at Henry Hogg Booksellers, High Street.

The book hopes to raise the profile of the Montrose artist who is little known out of the town. Mr Stansfeld, of Dunninald Castle, said: “I think the book has been well received. I am thankful to everyone who has been involved.”

Ian Taylor, owner of Taylor’s Auction House, said: “I am extremely pleased to have hosted such an event for the community of Montrose.”

The Montrose Heritage Trust and Friends of William Lamb invested more than £10,000 into the biography.

Chairman of the Montrose Heritage Trust Andrew Orr said: “We are so pleased with the book. I couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere for the launch in showcasing this wonderful artistic talent.

“I have put a lot of time and money into this book but to do something like this for Montrose it has all been worthwhile. A lot of art books are funded by big firms but in small towns it is harder.”

Kitty Ritchie, chairman of Friends of William Lamb, said: “I fell in love with Lamb the artist more than 25 years ago, with this book I fell in love with the man. It made me laugh and cry, I challenge anyone to read it and not cry.”

Lord Lieutenant of Angus Georgiana Osborne attended the launch at Taylor’s. She said: “In Lamb we have not only a great local hero but a national one. Hopefully the book will draw art lovers to the county and Montrose.”

Local artist Mae McKenzie-Smith said: “Somehow Lamb has fallen into the mists of time, but thanks to this book it will be very difficult for him to be forgotten in the mist again.”

Although he is not widely known out of Montrose, the Queen Mother fell in love with Lamb’s work, asking him to sculpt the head of her daughter, the Queen, when she was six, as well her sister Margaret and the Queen Mother herself. An edition of the head of the Queen as a young girl was on display at Taylor’s on Monday.

After rejecting a £5,000 grant for the printing of the biography, Angus Council have now approved a grant of £750 for the promotion of the book.