The son of a shipmaster, William Brodie was born in Banff near Aberdeen in 1815. He started his working life as an apprentice plumber, but evening classes at the mechanics' institute in Aberdeen encouraged his artistic talent, setting him on the road to studying in Edinburgh and eventually in Rome. He became a distinguished Scottish sculptor, and was elected to associate membership of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1852. Helen Smailes describes him as "one of the most proficient and prolific British exponents of bust portraiture in the liberally classicizing tradition of Sir Francis Chantrey." Among his many commissions were figures from the Waverley novels for the Scott Monument in Princes Street, Edinburgh. However, his bronze likeness of the loyal little Skye terrier, Greyfriars Bobby, is probably his single most famous piece. Brodie's younger brother Alexander also became an important sculptor, and William and his wife Helen, herself an artist, were the parents of the sculptor Mary Brodie, Lady Gowans. — Jacqueline Banerjee
Smailes, Helen E. "Brodie, William, 1815-1881," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Viewed 14 April 2009.
Last modified 21 December 2010