James Sellars

1843 - 1888

James Sellars, Architect
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

James Sellars, Architect

Architect. Born in Glasgow, the son of a house factor, in 1857 Sellars was apprenticed to Hugh Barclay (1828-92) and much influenced by Alexander 'Greek' Thomson (1817-75). He made his name with designs for the Stewart Memorial Fountain in Kelvingrove Park (1872). This brought a series of commissions in Glasgow including St. Andrew's Halls (now the Mitchell Theatre; 1873), Belhaven Church, now the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Luke (1877), Kelvinside Academy (1877), the Glasgow Herald Building (1879), Fraser's Department Store in Buchanan Street (1883) and elsewhere in Scotland, such as Cove Castle (Argyll; 1867). He submitted designs for Glasgow City Chambers, but failed to win the competition.

One of his last works were the buildings for the International Exhibition at Kelvingrove (1888) where, it is said, Sellars stood on a nail while inspecting the site and died from the resulting infection. He lies buried in Lambhill Cemetery, for which he had designed the entrance arch (1880). The memorial over his grave is in the Egyptian style designed in 1890 by Sellars' assistant John Keppie (1862 - 1945). A bronze plaque by the sculptor J. Pittendrigh MacGillivray (1856 - 1938) has subsequently been stolen.

One of Sellars' finest surviving buildings, the New Club in Glasgow (1879), was renamed James Sellars House in his honour.

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