Gillies, William George, Sir, CBE RA RSA PPRSW

1898 – 1973

Educated at Knox Academy in Haddington and received some early training and encouragement from his uncle William Ryle Smith. Enrolled at Edinburgh College of Art in 1916 and studied for two terms before serving in the First World War. Returned to ECA in 1919 and gained his Diploma in Drawing and Painting in 1922 and teaching certificate from Moray House. In 1922 he also became a founder member of the 1922 Group and later in 1931 he joined The Society of Eight. An ECA Travelling Scholarship in 1923 enabled him to visit France and study in Andre Lhote's Studio (1923) and Italy (1924-04-01 to 1924-05). From 1924 - 1925 he was Assistant Art Master at Inverness Royal Academy before accepting a part time teaching post at ECA eventually becoming Head of Drawing and Painting from 1946 and Principal in 1959 retiring in 1966. Throughout his career he embarked on many painting trips throughout Scotland with close friends such as Donald Moodie. Gillies exhibited at the RSA Annual Exhibitions from 1927 until 1973. He became an Associate Member of the RSA in 1940 and an Academician in 1947. He was knighted in 1970. He was elected RSW in 1950, serving as President of that body from 1963-69. He was awarded his CBE in 1957 and, following his retiral in 1966 from ECA, he received an Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt.) Degree from Edinburgh University in that same year.

An image from the RSA collection.