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James Fillans


1808 - 1852

Sculptor, painter, poet and stone mason. Born Wilsontown, (South Lanarkshire), Fillans worked as a handloom weaver in Paisley before training as a stone mason. Working for architect David Hamilton (1768 - 1843), he carved the Corinthian capitals for the Glasgow Royal Exchange, now the Gallery of Modern Art (1832). Working from a studio in Paisley, he crafted marble busts of the local elite and other notables such as Professor John Wilson (Christopher North; 1785 - 1854). Around 1830 he moved to Glasgow and then in 1835 he travelled to London. He created a remarkable monument to the former Lord Mayor of London Sir James Shaw (1764 - 1844) in Kilmarnock (1848). He also executed monumental and graveyard sculptures which can be seen in the Glasgow Necropolis.

Fillans was also a minor poet and a painter, who exhibited at the Royal Academy (1837-50). He admired the Glasgow poet William Motherwell (1797 - 1835), painting his portrait on several occasions. Fillans also carved his memorial, again in the Glasgow Necropolis.

He is buried in Woodside Cemetery, Paisley, marked by a monument of his own creation.


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