Page last updated at 00:53 GMT, Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Artist appointed Queen's sculptor

Alexander Stoddart
Alexander Stoddart continues to live and work in Scotland

An artist has received his profession's highest honour, after being appointed the Queen's sculptor in Scotland.

The title was bestowed on Alexander Stoddart in recognition of his outstanding contribution to culture.

The Edinburgh-born artist is best known for his public monuments of historic figures, such as the Robert Louis Stevenson statue in the Scots capital.

Mr Stoddart, who grew up and lives in Paisley, said he was "thunderstruck" to have been awarded the title.

Her Majesty's Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland, as the position is officially known, is one of only two arts posts in the Royal Scottish household, the other being Her Majesty's Writer and Limner.

'Outstanding talent'

Mr Stoddart said the lifetime appointment was, "without doubt the highest honour any Scottish sculptor can receive", adding: "I am perfectly thunderstruck to receive it."

The artist, born in 1959, also paid tribute to the army of foundrymen, plaster-workers, stone-masons and others who had collaborated with him on works which can be seen across the UK and in Italy and the US.

"I should hope to be able to match the expectations implicit in this appointment in continued association with these wonderful people, to Her Majesty's satisfaction," he said.

Mr Stoddart, seen as Scotland's leading monumental sculptor, started out working for private clients in the early 80s, before moving on to his first public monuments about 10 years later.

Adam Smith statue
Mr Stoddart's statue of Adam Smith was recently unveiled in Edinburgh

One of his most recent works was a 10ft bronze statue of Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith, recently unveiled in Edinburgh.

His works also include a statue of philosopher David Hume, also in Edinburgh, and pieces for the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace.

Scottish Culture Minister Linda Fabiani said the appointment, recommended by the Scottish Government and approved by the Queen, was a "justified recognition of outstanding talent".

"Sandy is celebrated as a modern artist whose work celebrates Scotland's history of great achievements," she said.

Queen Victoria appointed Sir John Steell as her sculptor in Scotland in 1844, a post which has also been held by artists including Dr James Pittendrigh MacGillivray and Sir Eduardo Paolozzi.

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