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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

George William (Bill) Scott (1935–2012)

Sculptor. Born in Moniaive, Dumfriesshire, he studied under Ann Henderson at Edinburgh College of Art from 1953 to 1959, and went on to spend a year at the École des Beaux Arts, Paris. His early work was mostly in metal, with constructivist pieces such as Rig and Platform (1978–85) paying tribute to the engineering achievements of the North Sea oil industry, while his later work in wood placed a greater emphasis on craft skill and showed a preoccupation with the forms of ‘primitive’ sculpture. He exhibited extensively in Britain, Scandinavia and Japan, and carried out a number of public commissions, including The Spirit of Drama in the Byre Theatre, St Andrews (1969), The Symbols of St Kentigern on the MoD building in Glasgow (1986), Fossil Tree, Gyle Centre, Edinburgh (1994), and the Memorial to Elizabeth Crichton in Crichton university campus, Dumfries (2000). He joined the teaching staff of Edinburgh College of Art in 1961, and was Head of the School of Sculpture, from 1989 to 1997; from 1994 he was also a professor in the Faculty of Art and Design at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He was active in the affairs of the Royal Scottish Academy, and in 2007 became the first sculptor in the history of the organisation to be elected its president. At the time of his death he was also chairman of the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, which was renamed the Bill Scott Sculpture Centre in his honour when it opened its new premises at Hawthornvale in 2012.

Bibliography: W.T. Johnston, Dictionary of Scottish Artists (c.2000), Scottish National Library, ref CD-ROM.585; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), Liverpool, 2018, vol. 1, pp. 56–57, 171, 173, 399, 477; A. Patrizio, Contemporary Sculpture in Scotland, Sydney, Australia, 1999, pp. 122–27; Scotsman, 5 April 2012 (obit.).

Ray McKenzie 2018