Elected ARSA: 15 March 1950

Elected RSA: 11 February 1970

Scott Sutherland was born in Wick, Caithness, on 15th May, 1910, the son of Major David Sutherland, M.C., M.A., headmaster of Wick High School. He died at King's Cross Hospital Dundee on October 10th 1984.


After completing his schooling in Wick, Scott - Scotty to his colleagues and many friends - commenced his art training at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen in 1928 and from 1929-1933 went to study sculpture under Alexander Carrick, R.S.A. at Edinburgh College of Art.


On completion of Post Graduate and Fellowship at Edinburgh, Scotty was awarded a Scholarship to L'École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1934. This was followed by a period of study under the Matel Brothers in their Paris Atelier. They greatly influenced Scotty's work at that time and this influence is evident in work such as "L'Adoration."


During 1934 and 1935 he studied sculpture in Egypt, Greece, Italy, France and Germany on a Carnegie Scholarship. His was an outstandingly successful student career recognised by the award of almost every national prize available, including a string of R.S.A. prizes.


In 1945 after war service, Scotty was appointed Sculpture Instructor at Belfast College of Art and from 1947-1975 was Head of Sculpture at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee.


In an open Competition as part of the 1938 Empire Exhibition in Glasgow, Scotty was awarded two out of the five major sculpture commissions. The award of these commissions presaged a brilliant future as one of the leading practitioners of outdoor public sculpture. His commissioned works are almost too numerous to mention but the following give some indication of the range of public works to his credit.


They include a carved coat of arms on the National Library of Scotland, a bronze memorial in the form of a ship's figurehead to Hercules Linton (of Cutty Sark fame) in Inverbervie; a bronze capercailzie for a school at Kenmore, Perthshire; the Robert Bruns statue in Arbroath; the carved slate memorial panel to the Crew of the Broughty Ferry lifeboat "Mona"; the memorial to Air Chief Marshall Lord Dowding at Moffat; a silver trophy for the Royal Observer Corps from Powrie Brae.


However, Scotty's most memorable and undoubtedly outstanding work is the Commando Memorial, Spean Bridge, Inverness-shire unveiled by HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1952. Scotty won a national competition for this work in 1949 and rarely have a sculptor and subject been so perfectly matched. He had known and worked alongside the Commandos during his war service and had great admiration for them. In addition, the scale was right - heroic in proportion - matching its subject.


No sooner had the work been unveiled than the greatest possible tributes came pouring in from every corner of the globe. The Commando Memorial, despite the remoteness of setting remains one of the most visited and best loved public sculptures in Scotland. It is certainly the most photographically reproduced. 


Scotty was elected an A.R.S.A. in 1950 and R.S.A. in 1970. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptures in 1961.


Scotty was small of stature but exerted a huge presence in his most familiar and loved of surroundings - in charge of a sculpture studio where he was very much "Maître d'Atelier". He demanded very high standards from his students and eschewed anything which was second-rate, either conceptually or in technical execution, being himself a superb modeller, carver and caster. He believed very firmly in teaching by example. Scotty was held in the highest esteem by both student and teaching colleagues.


He much enjoyed the camaraderie of the College Staff Common Room possessing a lively sense of humour.


In his youth he had been an amateur boxing champion and maintained his interest in the sport throughout his life.


Another facet of Scotty's talents, which he kept well hidden, was that of being an accomplished violinist although with characteristic modesty he often preferred to describe himself as a "Caithness fiddler".


Sadly since retiring from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 1975, Scotty did not enjoy the best of health. The last nine years saw a gradual diminution of his strength. Nonetheless he continued to do woodcarving on a small scale and continued to exhibit these works in the Academy.


We all miss his genial companionship and his example as a sculptor. Scotty was survived by his wife Kennethina, son David and daughters Alayne and Catherine. Tragically his widow died in a fire in her home within a month of Scotty's death. Our deepest sympathy is extended to the family.


RSA Obituary by A.R.R. RSA. Transcribed from the 1984 RSA Annual Report


Further Images

Scott Sutherland RSA (1910-84) Portrait bust of Alayne

fibreglass, resin, bronze, 1960, 31.5 x 25.5 x 21.0cm

RSA Diploma Collection (Deposited 1971) 2004.056