Helen Lamb,

Church of Scotland brithday card designed by artist Helen LambThe subject today is the ‘Glasgow Girl’ artist Helen Lamb (1893-1981) whose work gave colour and meaning to church services for several generations of worshippers in the Church of Scotland.  She studied at the Glasgow School of Art, and spent most of her working life in Dunblane, with a studio in Bryanstone, the house built by her father.

Helen Lamb was known internationally for her calligraphy and manuscript illuminations, and her finest original work can be seen in Dunblane Cathedral, Dunblane Museum and in the Royal Collections.  In 1927, the Church of Scotland obtained the right to print copies of her cradle roll, and these, together with her certificates, birthday cards for children, Girl’s Guildry, Women’s Guild cards and other works were used in Scottish churches world wide, to the end of the last century.

Shown here is a Birthday Card for an 8 year old in Dunblane. Such works are now a rarity, so the new book on the Art of Helen Lamb by Dr. Valerie Inglis is timely.  It explores her life and work in a full colour, sumptuous paperback of 142 pages, available at only £10 from the Stirling Smith and all good bookshops.


  1. REPLY

    i still have my first birthday card from the church of scotland Gordon park in whiteinch glasgow came across this when i was looking through some old photos and its 54 years old.same type of card as above but different design altogether.

    • REPLY
      Anne Cervi (nee Winton) says

      I have 5 of these beautiful cards, from my first to my fifth birthday and they were given to me by St John’s Kirk Sunday School, Perth.
      I have them framed and they look stunning
      I will be 75 on my next birthday.

  2. REPLY
    Laura Leonard says

    I have three of them I received from 1955-7 aged 3-5 from Christ’s Kirk on the Green, Leslie, Fife. The illustrations are beautiful. I bet there’s quite a lot of them tucked away in folks’ houses.

  3. REPLY
    Elizabeth Wardrop says

    I have mine from ages 1-5 and my twin sisters cards 1-2. I am 63 and they are 57. I always loved the colours

Post a comment

three × five =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.