He was born in Edinburgh, the second son of architect Sir Robert Lorimer. He was educated at Loretto School in Musselburgh, then at Magdalen College, Oxford University, but he left Oxford prematurely to study design and sculpture under Alexander Carrick at the Edinburgh College of Art. After graduating in 1934, he entered an apprenticeship with sculptor and stonemason Eric Gill.
Lorimer was principally an architectural sculptor, and his profound religious beliefs had a lasting effect on his art and subject matter. After World War II, he worked on many grand sculptures, including Our Lady of the Isles, 1958, a massive granite statue of the mother and child sited at Rueval on South Uist.
Between 1950 and 1955 he also sculpted the artwork adorning the facade of the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, for which he produced a series of tall, allegorical figures, depicting history, law, medicine, music, poetry, science and theology. The architect of the library was Reginald Fairlie, who had been apprentice to Lorimer's father Robert. Lorimer carved the figures directly into the stone rather than copying from clay models, a practice known as direct carving.
Crucifix on exterior east wall of St Martin and St Ninian Church, Whithorn (1959). Has suffered some damage and loss of detail after a botched cleaning job in 1987.
A statue of St Meddan in niche above the main entrance to Our Lady of the Assumption and St Meddan's Church in Troon.
The font of St Machar's Cathedral (1954).
He was awarded an OBE in 1986 for services to architecture and conservation.
- The Lorimers, a family of the arts in Fife: an exhibition for the 1983 St. Andrews Festival. Crawford Centre for the Arts. 1983.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Hew was the nephew of the Scottish painter John Henry Lorimer and the grandson of Prof. James Lorimer, lawyer and academic. Lorimer lived in Kellie Castle in Fife, and died in a nursing home in St Andrews in 1993. He is survived by his sons, Robert and Henry, and daughter, Monica.
- Blackden, Stephanie (1987). Hew Lorimer: An Appreciation. National Trust for Scotland.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Chilvers, Ian; Glaves-Smith, John (2009). A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (2nd ed.). Oxford: University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-923965-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Kemp, Martin (2006). "Hew Lorimer: from spirit to stone". Sculpture Journal. 15 (1): 52–67. doi:10.3828/sj.15.1.4. ISSN 1366-2724.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Hew Lorimer on the Gazetteer for Scotland
- Hew Martin Lorimer CBE, RSA, FRBS at the Mapping Sculpture project
- Our Lady & St Meddan at Explore Churches
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