Heritage skills deliver new statue at City Campus

A statue of St Mungo, Glasgow’s patron saint, has taken pride of place at City of Glasgow College’s City campus.

The welcome new addition completes the campus’ landscaped park overlooking Cathedral Street and was created by former stonemasonry student, Roddy McDowall.

Paul Little, Principal and Chief Executive at City of Glasgow College, said:

“We are delighted to have such a striking statue of St Mungo complete our parkland. City campus is also home to the Spirit of St Kentigern integrating art and architecture in a way that enhances the quality, not only of the internal space for staff and visitors, but also the surrounding environment for the wider community too. Working with partners such as the Incorporation of Masons also helps us ensure important heritage craft skills, such as stonemasonry, are not only visibly on show but also, secured for our future generations of students.” 

Craig Bryce, the Deacon of the Incorporation of Masons of Glasgow explained their role:

“We commission projects every few years, but this was one of the biggest and only the second piece of stonework on which we’ve put the ‘masons mark’ - initials and the date 1057, the date we were incorporated by King Malcolm III. We’re really proud of the result.”

The nine-foot tall sculpture started out as a seven tonne block of Portland stone, a white limestone. Having graduated from the college in 2005, Roddy returned 10 years later, and took six months to complete the project working alongside stonemasonry, conservation and restoration students at the college’s former workshops on Rogart Street.

The initial stages of the commission required the former student to carry out research and generate a number of drawings. Roddy explained:

“I created a full size clay model to take measurements from and use as a visual aid. I also had to work round the stone as it was far too heavy to move and that made it pretty difficult at times, but I am very happy with the overall result. I particularly enjoyed creating the drapery and carving the face.”

Douglas Morrison, STEM and Innovation Lead at City of Glasgow College, was Roddy’s lecturer at the time and oversaw the project. He said:

“Early on it was clear that Roddy had a passion for working with stone and was keen to progress beyond traditional stonemasonry training. The sculpture of St Mungo was one of the most complex works taken on by the stonemasonry team at the college, requiring a level of expertise that both challenged and raised standards across a range of disciplines.

“In creating the statue of St Mungo, Roddy McDowall leaves a legacy of art which can be admired and enjoyed by visitors, and all those who live, work and study in Glasgow, for many years to come."