The Info List - Robert Lorimer

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Sir Robert Stodart Lorimer, KBE (4 November 1864 – 13 September 1929) was a prolific Scottish architect and furniture designer noted for his sensitive restorations of historic houses and castles, for new work in Scots Baronial and Gothic Revival styles, and for promotion of the Arts and Crafts movement.[1]


1 Early life 2 Later life 3 World War One work 4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

Early life[edit] Lorimer was born in Edinburgh, the son of Hannah Stodart (1835-1916) and James Lorimer, who was Regius Professor of Public Law at University of Edinburgh
from 1862 to 1890. In his youth the family lived at 21 Hill Street, a Georgian house in Edinburgh's South Side, close to where his father worked at Old College.[1][2] From 1877 to 1882 he was educated at Edinburgh
Academy, going on to study at University of Edinburgh
from 1882 to 1885, however he left without completing his studies. He was part of a talented family, being the younger brother of painter John Henry Lorimer, and father to the sculptor Hew Lorimer. In 1878 the Lorimer family acquired the lease of Kellie Castle
Kellie Castle
in Fife
and began its restoration for use as a holiday home. Lorimer began his architectural career in 1885 working for Sir Robert Rowand Anderson in Edinburgh, and in 1889 for George Frederick Bodley in London. He returned to Edinburgh
opening his own practice in 1891. His first major restoration commission was Earlshall Castle in Fife for a friend of his parents. He was influenced by Scottish domestic architecture of the 16th and 17th centuries and the Scottish baronial style of Kellie Castle
Kellie Castle
where he had spent much time as a young man. From his time in Bodley's office, Lorimer was influenced by the ideas of William Morris, and went on to become a committed exponent of the Arts and Crafts approach to architecture. He assembled a collaborative group of artists and craftsmen who, collectively, often contributed to his various commissions and to the manufacture of furniture sent to the Arts and Crafts exhibitions in London. In 1896 he was elected to the Art Workers Guild. Lorimer designed a series of cottages in the Arts and Crafts style in the Colinton
area of Edinburgh, the so-called " Colinton
Cottages". Constructed using traditional methods and materials, each cottage included a garden layout and interior design, including furniture, in keeping with the Arts and Crafts concept. By 1900, eight cottages had been built and four others were under construction. As his reputation grew the scale of his commissions increased, including major alterations and additions to important houses in various styles, culminating in three entirely new country houses designed in his personal interpretation of Scots baronial style; at Rowallan Castle, Ayrshire (1903), Ardkinglas, Argyll (1906), and Formakin House, Renfrewshire (1912). Of these, Ardkinglas, on Loch Fyne was the only one built as originally designed and, Lorimer having been given carte blanche, represents his masterpiece. His important restorations at this time include Lennoxlove House, Haddington (1912) and probably his most evocative; at Dunderave Castle, Argyllshire (1912) on the Ardkinglas
estate. He could take a house of modest character and give it a strong personality, such as Pitkerro, Forfarshire (1902) or Briglands, Kinross (from 1903), particularly where he found the raw materials sympathetic, but he could also disregard existing architectural qualities in a way that modern conservation practice would question, if he felt the result justified its replacement, such as at Hill of Tarvit, Fife
(1907) where he demolished a previous house probably by Sir William Bruce, or at Marchmont, Berwickshire (1914) where he re-configured an altered house by William Adam (from 1750), ignoring Adam's design. He was called in to a number of properties to carry out a range of improvements, such as minor alterations, design of interiors and furnishings, work to ancillary buildings, and garden designs and features. A good representative of this sort of work is Hunterston Castle in Ayrshire (1912). Later life[edit]

Lorimer's house at 54 Melville Street, Edinburgh

The Lorimer family grave, Newburn, Fife

The First World War restricted the demand for large new houses and his attention shifted to smaller scale projects, war memorials, and restorations. He already had a reputation as one of Scotland's leading restoration architects following the restoration of Earlshall and Dunderave, and he went on to carry out significant alteration and restoration works at Dunrobin Castle
Dunrobin Castle
in Sutherland
following a fire (1915), and at Balmanno Castle in Perthshire (1916), said to have been the only one of his commissions he would like to have lived in. Although much of his work, and reputation, was in the sphere of domestic architecture, Lorimer also carried out significant public works. Principal amongst these include his design for the new chapel for the Knights of the Thistle in St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh
in 1911. He received a knighthood for his efforts and went on to gain the commission for the Scottish National War Memorial
Scottish National War Memorial
at Edinburgh
Castle in 1919, subsequently opened by the Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales
in 1927. Following the completion of the memorial, Lorimer was in December 1927 appointed a Knight
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
(KBE).[3] He designed the Doiran Memorial
Doiran Memorial
and the three great naval memorials to the missing: Portsmouth
Naval Memorial, Plymouth Naval Memorial
Plymouth Naval Memorial
and Chatham Naval Memorial, each of which is a Grade I Listed Building. Lorimer was also responsible for St Andrew's Garrison Church, Aldershot, completed 1927, a large Army church dedicated to the soldiers of the Church of Scotland
and kindred churches who lost their lives in World War One. In 1928, he returned to complete St Peter's Church in Morningside, Edinburgh, which he had designed in 1905.[4] One of his last works (completed posthumously) was Knightswood St Margaret's Parish Church, Glasgow, which was dedicated in 1932. Lorimer became President of the professional body in Scotland, the Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, and it was during his tenure in office that the body received its second royal charter, permitting use of the term 'Royal' in the title. Lorimer was a fellow of the North British Academy of Arts. Ironically Lorimer lived in a mid-19th century town-house designed by Robert Brown, 54 Melville Street in Edinburgh, but Lorimer did heavily remodel the building when he bought it in 1903, adding small window panes, an extra attic storey, and central French doors on the frontage leading to a small balcony. He lived here for 26 years and died here in 1929. He was cremated at the newly opened Warriston Crematorium and his ashes were thereafter buried with his parents at Newburn in rural south-east Fife, close to the family home of Kellie Castle. The grave (which he had designed himself at the death of his father) lies in the extreme south-west corner of this tiny and very remote churchyard, overlooking rural Fife
towards the Firth of Forth. World War One work[edit] Over and above the very public and controversial Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh
Castle, Lorimer was responsible for the simple and elegant design of the Commonwealth gravestone and for the design of several CWGC cemeteries in Germany (for PoWs dying in captivity) and in the Middle East. He also designed many war memorials.[5] Cemeteries by Lorimer include: Bordighera
(Italy); Campo Santo in Genoa
(Italy); Monte di Sunio, Caltrano near Venice
(Italy); Savara (Italy); Taranto
(Italy); Chatby
(Egypt); El Arish (Egypt); Hadra near Alexandria (Egypt); Ismailia (Egypt); Kantara (Egypt); Minia (Egypt); Tel El-Kabir (Egypt); Lake Dorian (Macedonia); Baranthal, Asagio near Vernice (Italy); Boscon, Asagio near Venice
(Italy); Cairo War Cemetery (Italy); Cavaletto, Asagio near Venice
(Italy); Doiran (Greece); Granezza, Asiagp near Venice
(Italy); Karasouli (Salonika); Hortakoi, Kirechkoi (Thessalonika); Lahana (Thessalonika); Magnaboschi, Asagio near Venice
(Italy); Montecchio/Precalcino near Venice
(Italy); Port Said
Port Said
(Egypt); Salonika; Sarigol near Kriston (Greece ; Struma near Kalokastron (Greece ; Suez
(Egypt); Stahnsdorf POW cemetery near Berlin
(Germany); Colonial Hill (Macedonia); Niederzwehren POW cemetery near Berlin
(Germany); Ohlsdorf
POW cemetery near Hamburg
(Germany); Suedfriedhof POW cemetery near Cologne
(Germany); Zehrensdorf POW cemetery near Brandenburg (Germany). Public or notable private war memorials by Lorimer include: Gullane; Bowden, Scottish Borders; Border Regiment
Border Regiment
Memorial in Carlisle Cathedral; Harrow School; 1st and 5th Battalions Royal Scots
Royal Scots
and RAMC memorials in St Giles Cathedral
St Giles Cathedral
in Edinburgh; 90th Light Infantry in Perth; Arbroath
Academy, Caddonfoot; Carnbee; Clackmannan; Currie; Gairloch, Gargunnock; Parliament House (advocates memorial) in Edinburgh; Selkirk; St Andrews; Garelochhead; Lake Dorian in Macedonia; Alloa; Carlisle; Dirleton; Glenelg; Markinch; Merton College in Oxford; Newport, Monmouthshire; Pencaitland; Plymouth; Portsmouth; Urquhart; Westminster School; Wisley; Culross; Colinsburgh; Edinburgh
City Chambers; Galston; Humbie; Inveresk; Lower Largo; Melrose, Scottish Borders; Newport-on-Tay; Penicuik; Spott; Kew Gardeners Memorial (St Lukes in Kew ; Stenton; Whitekirk; Woolhampton; Kelso, Scottish Borders; GSWR memorials in Ayr and Glasgow; Strathblane; Colmonell; Paisley (with sculpture by Alice Meredith Williams); Queenstown, Eastern Cape
Queenstown, Eastern Cape
in South Africa (with sculpture by Alice Meredith Williams); Waterford
(Eire); Lerwick; Shetland. References[edit]

^ a b Goold, David. "(Sir) Robert Stodart Lorimer". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Retrieved 2017-12-16.  ^ "Post Office Edinburgh
and Leith directory". National Library of Scotland. 1865–1866. Retrieved 2017-12-16. CS1 maint: Date format (link) ^ "No. 33335". The London
Gazette. 6 December 1927. p. 7817.  ^ Edinburgh, Morningside, 77 Falcon Avenue, St Peter's Roman Catholic Church And Presbytery House from Canmore, retrieved 20 July 2017 ^ Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Robert Lorimer

Further reading[edit]

Hussey, Christopher. The Work of Sir Robert Lorimer. Country Life, 1931 Savage, Peter. Lorimer and the Edinburgh
craft designers. Edinburgh : Harris, 1980. ISBN 0-904505-39-1. Macbeth Shen, Lindsay. A Comment on Tradition; Robert S. Lorimer's Furniture Design. Red Peroba Publishing 1992. ISBN 0-9520345-0-6 Richardson, Harriet and Lord, Gay. Lorimer and his craftsmen, A National Trust for Scotland
Exhibition, Summer 1986.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert Lorimer.

2 Painting(s) by or after Robert Lorimer
Robert Lorimer
at the Art UK
Art UK
site Resources at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland Biography and references at Edinburgh
City Libraries Hunterston Castle
Hunterston Castle
which Lorimer redesigned  "Lorimer, Sir Robert Stodart". Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
(12th ed.). 1922. 

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 3391938 LCCN: n82125722 ISNI: 0000 0001 2208 3191 GND: 12390577X SUDOC: 149164068 ULAN: 500014238 RKD: 436