A tour aimed at sealing Montrose’s status as “the sculpture capital of Angus” has taken place as a studio showcasing famed artist William Lamb is shut because of a funding shortfall.
The guided walk was organised by Norman Atkinson, chair of the Friends of William Lamb in Montrose, to maintain interest in the sculptor and his work, while the studio, normally open to visitors during the summer months, remains closed to the public.
Mr Atkinson, who is also a Deputy Lord Lieutenant in the county said: “I am delighted that the walk attracted more than 20 people with an interest in Lamb.
“Although I did a similar walk in the 1980s, this one had the advantage of recently published work on the artist, including an excellent biography on the artist, as well as recent research work I have completed.
“Unfortunately, we did not manage to complete all of the proposed stops which included his three studios as well as the Lamb sculptures now sited around the town, but this means we that we have been left plenty of scope to do another walk in the near future, perhaps as early as September.”
There has been a resurgence of interest in the work of the famous sculpture, and the Friends of William Lamb group has seen membership rise to 135 this year.
“This year should have been the 40th year of summer opening, and a cause for celebration.
“Instead, the unexpected loss of funding by Angus Council, means that this is the first year the studio has not been open to the public.”
The studio and its contents was a bequest to the people of Montrose but the ownership has since passed to Angus Council.
Angus Alive support ended in April and the volunteers have been disappointed that despite offering to open the Studio to volunteers that nothing has happened.
The decision by Angus Alive to cease financial support, and subsequent failure to agree access arrangements with the Friends group has been criticised by Aberdeen University Art History academic, Professor John Morrison: “I think the potential threat to the Lamb Studio is very worrying.
“Personally I do not understand how, when Lamb gifted the works to the then Montrose council to be looked after in perpetuity, they can simply renege on their responsibilities.
“I said at the meeting called to discuss this matter that it troubled me that Angus Council distanced itself from the decision by stating that it was ‘Angus Alive’ that was responsible when four of the nine members of the Angus Alive board are councillors and it is chaired by a councillor.
“I also said, and continue to believe that it is quite extraordinary that of the nine people running Angus Alive not one of them has any background in the arts.”
“Their ignorance of the arts may not be entirely disconnected from their decision making.”