Hawkie, the subject of this sculpture by Eaglesham amateur artist William Gemmell, was born in St. Ninians, near Stirling. Hawkie, whose real name was William Cameron, started work as a tailor, but was forced to give this up because of a deformed foot. He eventually moved to Glasgow and became both a beggar and a seller of penny dreadfuls and printed ballads. Penny dreadfuls were cheap, entertaining reading for the rapidly growing urban working classes and were often based on melodramas performed at small theatres.

Hawkie was fascinated by public executions, possibly because he also made his living from selling "true confessions" of condemned prisoners. He was also known for his sharp wit.

Hawkie is reputed to have been a guest of William Gemmell at Pillar house for six weeks, during which time the model for the statue was produced. He died in 1851 in the Old Town Hospital, Clyde Street, Glasgow.

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