William George Gillies

Gillies, born in East Lothian, studied at Edinburgh College of Art. Although his time there was interrupted by the war, this was the beginning of a long association with the School; Gillies spent long periods teaching there, and he was Principal from 1959 to his retirement in 1966.

He founded the 1922 Group with nine fellow students, including William MacTaggart and William Crozier, in the eponymous year, for the promotion of their work. They exhibited for the next ten years at the New Gallery in Edinburgh. In 1924 Gillies won a travelling scholarship through which he spent time studying under André Lhote in Paris, where he was influenced by Munch, Bonnard, Braque, and Matisse, amongst others. He also travelled to Italy.

Gillies’ main subject was the Scottish landscape, of which he made studies in situ and then returned to the studio to paint in oils. He is also known for still-lifes of subtle composition, and portraits.