Elected ARSA: 20 March 1918 

Elected RSA: 2 Decmber 1930

 Mr. Dunn was born at Pollokshields, Glasgow, in 1861, but received his schooling and his architectural training in Edinburgh. Starting practice for himself in 1887, he early came into public notice by obtaining second place in the Assessor’s award in the competition for Edinburgh Public Library, and by having his design for the Library for the Society of Solicitors before the Supreme Courts adopted by that body.


While still a comparatively young man he was en- trusted along with Mr., now Colonel T. Leslie ‘Findlay, who was for a short period in partnership, with the designs for The Scotsman office and printing rooms. The opportunity was a great one and Mr. Dunn did ample justice to it, the resultant building being last- ing tribute to the skill with which the practical and aesthetic difficulties the problem presented were solved.


The extensive and varied nature of Mr. Dunn’s practice may be judged by the following list of his more im- portant works in addition to those already mentioned. The Adam Smith and Beveridge Memorial Halls, Kirk- caldy ; Queen’s Club, Victoria Buildings, Dean Parish Church, Charteris Memorial Church, all at Edinburgh ,; Burntisland Church and Hall, Menstrie Church and Hall, and business premises for Messrs. Jenner and others in Edinburgh.


His domestic work comprised ‘Beechholme” and lodges, Edinburgh ; ‘‘Glenfarg House” and ‘“ Balnacraig,”’ Perthshire; ‘‘ Nether Gaberstone ”’ and “ Bellenden,’”’ Peeblesshire ; ‘‘ Gargrave,’’ Yorkshire ; additions to ‘‘Carham Hall,’ Northumberland; and the reconstruction after fire of ‘‘ Haggerston Castle,” Northumberland, and of ‘“ Blair Drummond,” Perth- shire.


The War Memorials at Jedburgh, Hawick, Lockerbie, Newburgh and Killin are all to his designs. He had also an expert knowledge of rock gardening, and was justly proud of his achievements in that pursuit, That he maintained his virility to the end is evidenced by the successes he achieved in important competitions of recent years, notably in that for the new George Watson’s College, Edinburgh, in which his design was placed first, and the building was in course of erection at the time of his death.


The high estimation in which he was held by his professional and artistic brethren is shown by his election as President of the Edinburgh Architectural Association, 1910-11, as Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1918, and as Academician in 1930.


For several years he was one of the Academy’s representatives on the Board of the Edinburgh College of Art, where he did excellent service. He had a keen appreciation of the best qualities in pictorial art, and was a discriminating buyer as well as adviser to other purchasers.


In this, and in other ways as well, he was a good friend to his fellow artists, many of whom will miss his timely aid. Of a generous and happy temperament, his cheerful presence and genial companionship were highly prized by a wide circle of friends, who deeply mourn his loss. Mr. Dunn died unexpectedly on 25th August after a surgical operation. He is survived by a widow, one son and two daughters.

Transcribed from the 1930 RSA  Annual Report


Further Images

James Bow Dunn RSA (1861-1930) - drawn by DAVISON, Thomas Raffles (1853-1937), House at Elgin (The Bield) for E S Harrison 

Pen and ink on paper [architectural drawings and plans], around 1928, 94.1 x 62.3 cm 

RSA Diploma Collection (Deposited, 1931) 1994.352