William Wilson ARSA, RSW, RSA, OBE (1905-1972)

Born in Edinburgh William Wilson served an apprenticeship with James Ballatine & Son as a stained-glass maker. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art and his etching and engraving won him a Travelling Scholarship to Europe in 1932. He studied engraving and stained-glass making in Germany in 1934 and opened his own stained-glass studio in Edinburgh in 1937. Won many commissions for his stained glass work including, Warrior’s Chapel at Canterbury Cathedral, the Bishop’s Wynd in St Andrew’s Cathedral and the Great West Window in St Machar’s Cathedral in Aberdeen. He was a fine watercolourist using strong pen and ink drawing of Scotland, Provence, Normandy, Brittany, the Dolomites and Venice and often included architectural features such as old churches or old building. His association with William Gillies and John Maxwell had a clear influence on his watercolour work. He was also a highly acclaimed print maker being hailed as “the master of Scottish 20th Century print making” by his friend and fellow engraver, Ian Fleming. His print making earned him a scholarship to study engraving at the Royal College of Art in London in 1935.
He was elected ARSA 1939, RSA 1949, RSW 1946 and was awarded the OBE in 1961. Exhibited at RA (3), RSA (150), RSW (3) and GI(12).
Reference: The Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture by Peter J M McEwan.