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William Wilson OBE RSA RSW SAP SSA (1905-1972)


William Wilson, OBE RSA RSW SAP SSA (1905-1972)

William Wilson has a reputation as the outstanding Scottish printmaker and stained glass artist of the twentieth century. Underpinning these achievements are his substantial skills as a draughtsman and painter.

Edinburgh-born William Wilson left school early to work as a mapmaker. Then, in 1920, at the age of 15, he began an apprenticeship in the stained glass studio of James Ballantine and Son, and also studied stained glass with Herbert Hendrie. While still an apprentice, he attended evening classes at Edinburgh College of Art and, in 1930, was elected to the Society of Scottish Artists.

In 1932, Ballantine allowed Wilson to study full time at the college, and he there discovered printmaking, becoming an outstanding student of etching and engraving under Adam Bruce Thomson, and soon winning an RSA Carnegie Travelling Scholarship. This enabled him to travel to France, Germany, Italy and Spain, and make pen and ink drawings of the places that he visited.

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