William Lamb lived from 1 June 1893 to 1951. He was one of the best known of all Scotland's sculptors and was strongly associated with the town of Montrose. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
William Lamb was born in Montrose. At the age of thirteen, he became an apprentice mason and monumental sculptor while still attending art classes at Montrose Academy. During the First World War Lamb served with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders in France. He was wounded twice, then invalided out of the army with a severely injured right hand. Lamb subsequently enrolled at the Edinburgh College of Art where he learned to draw, paint and sculpt using only his left hand. After two years in Edinburgh, Lamb toured France and Italy, returning to Montrose in 1924.
Here he set up his first studio, becoming part of a group who became known as the Scottish Renaissance in life and the arts. Others included the Angus poet Violet Jacob and Christopher Grieve (Hugh McDiarmid) at the time a reporter on a local newspaper. In 1925, Lamb had works accepted in exhibitions in the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Academy in London, and the Paris Salon. In 1932 Lamb was commissioned by the Duchess of York (later better known as the Queen Mother) to sculpt heads of her daughters, the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.
Lamb used the income from his royal commission to established a new studio in Montrose, at 24 Market Street. Lamb would spend the better part of the next three decades here, producing a huge range of etchings, drawings, watercolours and sculptures in media as diverse as clay, plaster, wood, stone and bronze.
William Lamb died in 1951, and bequeathed his studio as a memorial gift. His sister, Caroline Lamb, gifted the studio and its contents to Montrose Town Council, and in 1955 it opened as a permanent exhibition of William Lamb's work and a memorial to one of Scotland's most outstanding sculptors.