William Kellock Brown


B/W Sketch of William Kellock Brown, 'Baillie', no. 1216, 5 Feb 1896, cartoon supplement,  p.1

William Kellock Brown was born plain William Brown, in Regent Street, Glasgow in 1856. Like his elder brother Alexander, a landscape painter, he later added his mother's maiden name to differentiate himself from the numerous other William Browns in the area. It has been said that William's father Robert was an art metalworker, 1 but he was in fact a journeyman brassfounder in Edinburgh. Here, his three eldest sons (including Alexander) were born, before Robert moved his family to Glasgow around 1853, where he entered into partnership as Kenny & Brown, 'brassfounder, gasalier and gasfitter'.

After his wife's early death in the Royal Lunatic Asylum, Partick, in 1858, Robert Brown seems to have raised his sons with a housekeeper. 2 William may have trained with his father, making the type of items listed in Kenny & Brown's retiral sale in 1880: 'Florentine, steel, ormolu and antiqued bronze' gasoliers; 'church gas pillar brackets'; 'fine stained glass hall lamps'; and 'jointed gas brackets for dining rooms'. 3 He attended classes at Glasgow School of Art in the 1880s, following in the footsteps of his elder brother, Alexander. He won a scholarship to study at the Royal College and Royal Academy schools in London, and while there he worked on the balconies of the Savoy Hotel, in 1888. 4 Calling himself 'Kellock Brown', he exhibited 'a well-designed copper sconce representing the figure of Night', in Liverpool the same year, thereby continuing his father's earlier association with lighting design. 5 Around this time, he returned home, where he taught 'modelling, metal work and repousse' at Glasgow School of Art for the next decade. 6

Kellock Brown had shown work in the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society of London's 1890 exhibition, and he was included when 'selected examples' travelled to Glasgow. 7 The following year, while living with his elderly father, he and his brother Alexander were involved along with many notables of the Glasgow art world with arranging the 'South Glasgow Exhbition of Modern Art', at which Whistler's recently acquired portrait of Thomas Carlyle was shown. 8 Kellock Brown himself later sculpted the memorial to Carlyle in Kelvingrove Park. The titles of his recorded works during the 1890s and early 1900s suggest a mixture of portrait busts, figure studies and genre subjects. In 1896, an illustration of his The Ballad Monger was included in the 'Glasgow School' issue of the periodical, The Yellow Book. 9 Around the turn of the century, he was associated with groups such as the Art Workers' Guild and the Scottish Society of Art Workers, as well as joining the Royal Society of British Sculptors and exhibiting at the Royal Scottish Academy.

Kellock Brown began to receive architectural commissions as soon as he returned from London, including the allegorical figures on the Athenaeum, Buchanan Street (J. J. Burnet, 1891–3) and the draped classical females on the parapet of the People's Palace Museum (A. B. MacDonald, City Engineer, 1893–8). He executed the decoration on six Glasgow Corporation district libraries in the early 1900s, as well as smaller memorials to the Titanic Disaster victims (1912), and to Dr David Livingstone at Blantyre (1913). 10


1: For instance, Mapping the Practice ... of Sculpture database, http://sculpture.gla.ac.uk [accessed 23 April 2012].

2: Margaret Brown, Statutory Register of Deaths 646/02 0155, 1858, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 20 April 2012].

3: Glasgow Herald, 17 May 1880, p. 10; 21 May 1880, p. 11.

4: Gary Nisbet, Glasgow City of Sculpture database, www.glasgowsculpture.com [accessed 23 April 2012].

5: Liverpool Mercury, 4 December 1888, p. 7.

6: Ray McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2002, p. 478.

7: Glasgow Herald, 17 January 1890, p. 4.

8: Census 1891; Glasgow Herald, 2 May 1891, p. 9.

9: Kellock Brown, 'The Ballad Monger', The Yellow Book, 8, 1896, pp. 293–5.

10: Ray McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2002, pp. 44, 171–2, 478; Gary Nisbet, Glasgow City of Sculpture database, www.glasgowsculpture.com [accessed 23 April 2012].