Chronology

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1913
15 February: William George Scott was born at 24 Tobago Street, Greenock, Scotland, to an Irish father, William, and a Scottish mother, Agnes. His had two older sisters, Cathy (b. 1909) and Nancy (b. 1911).

1914
30 October: Scott’s sister Greta was born.

1915
16 December: Scott’s brother Charles was born.

1918
Scott’s father was demobilised from the army.

1919
20 May: Scott’s sister Mary was born.

1921
24 January: Scott’s brother Hugh was born.

1922
30 October: Scott’s brother Bertie was born.

1924
13 January: Scott’s brother Alex was born.

As work was hard to come by in Greenock, Scott’s father decided that the family should return to his home town, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. They lived, at first, on Forthill Street with Scott’s paternal grandfather later moving to 4 (now 2) Queen Street.

1 September: Scott enrolled at the Enniskillen National Model School.

1926
22 February: Scott’s brother Walter was born.

Scott began taking lessons with local art teacher Kathleen Bridle, a recent graduate of the Royal College of Art, London. He attended her afternoon and evening classes at the Enniskillen Technical School twice a week, as well spending time at her home, 8 Townall Street, where he studied her collection of art books.

1927
4 November: Scott’s father died the day after falling from a ladder while helping to put out a fire in a local shop.

1928
April: Scott’s sister Violet Isobel was born.

On the advice of Kathleen Bridle, the Art Inspector for Northern Ireland, John Hunter, informed the Principal of the Technical School that Scott was worthy of recommendation for a scholarship to allow him to continue his studies at a Senior School. The County of Fermanagh Education Committee awarded Scott a grant for no more than three years at 25 shillings a week to attend the Belfast School of Art.

1929
Scott won a prize of £3 in an open competition promoted by the Belfast Telegraph.

1930
5 June: Scott’s sister Violet died after suffering from a fit of convulsions brought on by whooping cough.

Scott won first prize at an Open Design competition in Dublin.

1931
Scott did badly in his final year exams at Belfast School of Art. He and his friend William Tocher discovered that the Royal Academy Schools in London offered free places to talented students and decided to apply.

September: Scott left Belfast for England where he entered the Royal Academy Schools as a Probationer for three months.

15 December: Having completed his probation period satisfactorily, Scott was admitted to the School of Sculpture (headed by the Master, William McMillan).

1932
Scott visited the exhibition French Art 1200-1900 at the Victoria and Albert Museum on more than one occasion.

June-August: Scott worked his passage home to Ireland for the summer.

December: At the Royal Academy’s annual prize-giving, Scott was awarded a Turner prize of £15 for a model of a design of a subject combined with architecture.

Scott spent Christmas with fellow student Mary Spencer-Watson and her family at their home Dunshay Manor, on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset.

1933
August: Scott began working on his design for the Gold Medal competition, the subject of which was the ‘Expulsion from Eden’.

December: Scott was awarded a Landseer Prize of £20 and a silver medal for two models of busts from life at the annual prize-giving.

1934
23 January: Scott transferred, at his own request, from the Sculpture School to the Painting School.

June: Scott met his future wife, Hilda Mary Lucas (known as Mary) when she was admitted as a full-time student to the RA Sculpture School.

July: Scott was awarded a Landseer Painting Scholarship of £40 a year, tenable for two years. He was placed second for Two Painted Figures.

November: Scott met and became friends with Dylan Thomas having been introduced by a mutual friend, Alfred Janes.

1935
Summer: Scott worked on a large painting The Adoration of the Shepherds which he entered for the Gold Medal prize. His grant from Ireland had stopped and he was in need of the £200 prize money. (The prize went to John Kingsely Cook.)

September: Scott left London for Cornwall where he stayed in Mousehole in a fisherman’s loft that had been converted into a simple studio by a friend, Dick Pentreath.

4 November: Scott wrote to the Secretary of the RA to apply for a grant. The following day he was awarded a Leverhulme Scholarship of £75 for 1935 and 1936 under the Leverhulme Trust.

December: Scott officially left the RA Schools despite the fact that his studentship had a year to run.

1936
Scott returned to London from Cornwall to see his painting The Adoration of the Shepherds exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

1937
19 May: Scott married Mary Lucas, a sculptor and fellow student at the RA Schools. The couple spent time in Cornwall and Dorset before leaving for Italy on 30 December.

1938
They lived in Italy for six months, visiting Florence, Venice and Rome, before moving to France. They settled in Pont-Aven, Brittany, France, and met there Geoffrey Nelson, with whom they set up the Pont-Aven School of Painting: WS taught figure and still-life painting, Mary drawing and sculpture, and Geoffrey Nelson landscape painting.
They made visits to Paris and made friends among the artists there.
On the recommendation of the French painter Maurice Asselin, WS was elected Sociétaire du Salon d’Automn and two of his paintings were shown at the annual Salon d’Automne exhibition.
For the winter they went to the South of France, staying at St Tropez and Cagnes-sur-Mer.

1939
William and Mary returned, via Paris, to Pont-Aven to teach and paint, where they met two older painters associated with Gauguin; Emile Bernard and Maurice Denis.
On 29 August, only days before the outbreak of World War II, the Scotts abruptly left France, leaving many paintings and possessions in the care of the local innkepper, Julia Correlleau.
They returned firstly to Britain before moving to Dublin, Ireland.

1940
Their son Robert was born in Dublin on 5 January. In March the Scotts returned to London. WS took a studio in Fernshaw Road, Chelsea. WS begins to exhibit in group shows at the Stafford Gallery and the Leicester Galleries, both in Central London. In July Robert was taken to North America by his aunt, to the USA and then to Canada.

1941
At the beginning of March the Scotts moved to Hallatrow, Somerset, where WS developed a market-garden. He accepted a part-time teaching post at the Bath Academy of Art, offered by its principal, Clifford Ellis. James, a second son, was born in Wells on 9 July.

1942
WS volunteered for the Army, serving firstly in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Based in London, he was able to continue painting in his studio in his spare time.
In September he had his first one-man show, at the Leger Galleries in Old Bond Street, London.

1943
WS was commissioned by Sheila Shannon and W. J. Turner to illustrate Soldiers’ Verse, an anthology of war poems edited by Patric Dickinson. WS produced 12 lithographs for the book, which was published in 1945 as one of a series of illustrated poetry books.

1944
In January, Robert was brought back to his parents in England. Robert and James had not been aware of each other’s existence.
WS was posted to Ruabon, in North Wales, where he was transferred to the map-making section of the Royal Engineers. Several artists were stationed at Ruabon, and they were allowed time off to paint.
WS turned to watercolour painting, with landscapes as his primary subject, as well as some narrative scenes.

1945
WS had a second solo exhibition at the Leger Gallery in February (50 watercolours and drawings). This was followed in December by a joint show, at the same gallery, with Mary Scott and Bernard Meninsky (20 watercolours and drawings).
Although World War II ended with Japan’s surrender in August, WS remained in the Army until the following year. In September, he was made a Sargeant in the Army Education Corps and moved, along with the rest of his Unit, to Longleat Camp in Warmintser.
That winter he visited the Matisse and Picasso exhibition of wartime paintings at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and was impressed mainly by the size of Picasso’s paintings, known to him previously only from reproductions.

1946
WS was demobolized in January. He visited Pont-Aven to take possession of the paintings and art works left at the outbreak of war in 1939, but was told by Mme Correlleau that they had all been taken by the Germans. He also went to Paris where he saw the exhibition ‘A Thousand Years of Still-Life Painting’. He returned to Somerset and was appointed Senior Painting Master at the Bath Academy of Art, now at Corsham Court, Wiltshire, England. He held this post until 1956, working alongside the sculptor Kenneth Armitage, and bringing in painters such as Terry Frost and Peter Lanyon in the 1950s as part-time painting tutors. For some time Mary Scott taught modelling there.
Seven of WS’s paintings were included in the exhibition ‘Four Young British Painters’, organized by the Arts Council of Great Britain, which toured in the UK.

1947
Several of WS's works were included in the British Council exhibition, Modern British Paintings (1942-1947), which toured Europe.

1948
WS had his first one-man show at the Leicester Galleries in London (30 paintings, mostly still
lifes and nudes). His work was also included in the show‘Forty Years of Modern Art’ presented by the newly founded Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London.

1949
WS was elected a member of the London Group.

1950–1
WS has his second one-man show at the Leicester Galleries. He was one of sixty artists invited by the Arts Council of Great Britain to paint a large picture for the exhibition which formed part of the Festival of Britain. WS painted a large table still life, in which he simplified the pictorial idiom, reduced the role of colour and emphasized the function of area division and of paint texture. He came close to abstraction in some paintings, and to complete abstraction in others, of 1951–52. Some of the latter were shown in London Group exhibitions in 1951 and 1952 and presented him as part of an abstract movement in British art, led by Victor Pasmore and Kenneth and Mary Martin.

1952
The Scotts took a flat in Chelsea, London, although they continued to spend much of their time at Hallatrow, and often spent summers at St Ives in Cornwall.
The Nicolas de Stael exhibition opened at the Matthiesen Gallery, New Bond Street, on 21 February. In June, WS and Patrick Heron travelled to Paris where they met de Stael.

1953
WS had the first of many exhibitions at the Hanover Gallery, London. It was visited by J.J. Sweeney, Director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and by Andrew Ritchie, Director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His paintings were shown also in the exhibition mounted by Patrick Heron, ‘Space in Colour’, at the Hanover Gallery.
In July he travelled to Canada to teach as a guest instructor at the Banff School of Fine Arts at the University of Alberta. He returned via New York where Martha Jackson, his future US dealer, introduced him to the leading New York School painters, including Rothko, Pollock, de Kooning and Kline. WS was interested in them as fellow artists, especially in Rothko who remained a friend. It was principally the scale of their work that impressed him, and their confidence, but he sensed more than ever that his artisitc roots lay in the European tradition.
Twelve WS oil paintings were included in the British Council’s contribution to the II Bienal at São Paulo, Brazil. Sweeney included WS in his ‘Younger European Painters’ show at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, and its tour to six other US centres.

1954
WS showed drawings in a joint exhibition at the Hanover Gallery with Francis Bacon. In October the exhibition 3 British Artists Hepworth Scott Bacon opened at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York (WS showed twelve paintings). WS was included in the book Nine Abstract Artists, introduced by Lawrence Alloway, published by Tiranti Press,
London.

1955
An exhibition of the same ‘Nine Abstract Artists’, including Heron, Pasmore, Frost and Roger Hilton, was presented at the Redfern Gallery, London, in January.
Four WS paintings were included in the exhibition ‘The New Decade: 22 European Painters and Sculptors’ shown first, in May, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and then on tour in three other major cities in the USA. At the same time Martha Jackson showed ‘Younger American and European Painters’, which included two WS paintings.
Returning from a holiday in Spain, the Scotts visited Lascaux in France
to see the cave paintings.

1956
In July, WS resigned from his post at Bath Academy of Art to devote all his time to his own work. Herbert Read included WS in his exhibition ‘Critic’s Choice’, an openly personal selection shown at Arthur Tooth & Sons, London.

1957
WS paintings are included in the exhibition New Trends in British Art held at the New York Art Foundation in Rome.

1958
Along with Kenneth Armitage and William Hayter, WS chosen by the British Council for the British Pavilion at the XXIX Venice Biennale. This group of works, with some changes, went on to tour five other European centres. WS and Mary stayed in Venice for some months while WS painted in a studio provided for him by the Accademia.
The Director of the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool wished to buy a WS Still Life for £247 but the idea was rejected by his committee.
WS was commissioned to paint a large mural for Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, by one of the architects of the Hospital Eugene Rosenberg.

1959
In August, Mark Rothko and his family came to stay with the Scotts at the cottage in Hallatrow. WS began work on the Altnagelvin mural.
Blue Abstract, 1959 (now in the collection of the Walker Gallery, Liverpool) was awarded first prize in the British painting section at the second John Moores Exhibition, Liverpool.
That November and December the Galerie Charles Lienhard in Zurich showed a large exhibition of WS’s drawings and paintings, primarily abstract.

1960
WS’s work was included in the exhibition ‘Four Internationals’ at the Gallery Moos in Toronto.
A major WS retrospective was organized by the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hannover. It included over seventy paintings and gouaches. It was shown in Hannover throughout June and July and then toured to three other German cities.

1961
Eleven paintings by WS were included in the British Council’s contribution to the VI São Paulo Bienal, Brazil; WS was awarded the Sanbra (International Critics’) Purchase Prize.
In November, the mural which WS had painted for Altnagelvin Hospital was shown at the Tate Gallery in London before being moved to Northern Ireland.

1962
In February, WS's mural was unveiled at Altnagelvin Hospital. Being entirely abstract, it caused much controversy in Londonderry.
WS was appointed a visiting tutor to the RA Schools and senior member of the Prix de Rome Committee.

1963
A WS retrospective was shown at the Kunsthalle, Berne, Switzerland, and at the Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Ronald Alley's book William Scott was published in the Methuen ‘Art in Progress’ series, London.
In October an exhibition of WS’s paintings was shown at the Galerie Anderson-Mayer in Paris recently founded by David Anderson, Martha Jackson’s son.
WS was invited by the Ford Foundation to take a twelve-month residency in West Berlin under the scheme run by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). In December, he and Mary move to Berlin, and formed friendships with Xenakis, the Greek composer, and Hans Scharoun, the German architect as well as Piers Read, the novelist and son of Herbert Read. WS was given the use of a fine studio in the Kunstakademie.

1964
Five of WS’s paintings were included in the massive exhibition ‘54:64 Painting and Sculpture of a Decade’, presented by the Gulbenkian Foundation and held at the Tate Gallery from April to June.
Alan Bowness (intro. and ed.), William Scott: Paintings, was published by Lund Humphries, London, a book of 150 illustrations (including some in colour), brief texts and a full exhibition history.

1965
WS was elected an Honorary Member of the Royal Ulster Academy.
The Scotts moved to Bennetts Hill Farm, Coleford, near Bath, Somerset.

1966
WS was created C.B.E. in January.
An exhibition of WS oil paintings and gouaches opens at the Gimpel-Hanover Gallery in Zurich in March.

1967
WS completed his mural for the Irish Television Centre in Dublin, which had been commissioned by the architects of this new building, Scott, Tallon, Walker.

1968
In the Spring, WS travelled with a group of artists and critics to Italy.
They visited Milan and Venice in a trip organised by the British Council. WS and Mary also visit Greece.

1969
WS was included in the Arts Council’s exhibition Modern Irish Painting which toured Finland, Sweden and Denmark for three years. Some 20 gouaches were shown at the Richard Demarco Gallery during the Edinburgh Festival. This was the first exhibition of his work to be shown in the land of his birth.

1970
WS began work on etchings for his unpublished book and play entitled Private Suite or Dubious Love. He worked on graphic prints with both the Kelpra and Curwin Studios.

1971
A small book of WS gouaches, in cerulean blue, and poems by Edward Lucie-Smith, A Girl Surveyed, was published by the Hanover Gallery to accompany WS’s show of such drawings and gouaches that March.
He was invited to contribute a design to be sold at a Gala evening in June at the London Coliseum on the theme of Titian’s painting The Death of Actaeon.

1972
WS’s retrospective at the Tate Gallery, London, including paintings, drawings and gouaches, was organized by Alan Bowness in collaboration with the artist.
An exhibition of WS prints was shown at the Waddington Gallery, London.

1973
WS travelled to Australia, Mexico and India as visiting lecturer for the British Council. Similar visits to Canada and Singapore followed the same year.

1974
After the closure of the Hanover Gallery in 1972, Gimpel Fils became WS’s London gallery and represented his work for the rest of his life.

1975
WS was made an Honorary Doctor of the Royal College of Art, London.
Lou Klepac’s book of WS drawings was published by David Anderson in Buffalo, USA.

1976
WS was made an Honorary Doctor of Literature, Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The Scotts went to Japan where WS exhibited at the KasakaraGallery in Tokyo and Osaka. They returned via Hong Kong.

1977
WS was made an Honorary Doctor of Literature, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

1978
In March, the Scotts travelled to the USA to attend the opening of the Antoni Tàpies exhibition in New York.

1979
An exhibition of WS works dating from 1946 toured Enniskillen, Londonderry and Belfast.
William began his Poem for a Jug series, which would be exhibited at Gimpel Fils the following year.

1980
WS travelled to Osaka, Japan, with Mary to oversee the hanging of his exhibition at the Gallery Kasahara.

1981
A solo exhibition of WS’s war paintings was shown at the Imperial War Museum, London.

1982
Mary Scott suffered a stroke.

1983
In April, WS visited New York for the opening of his exhibition at the Gimpel & Witzenhoffer Gallery.

1984
WS was elected Member of the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

1985
The early life of WS was the subject of a Channel 4 television film ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’, directed by James Scott.
WS was awarded a Korn Ferry prize at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London.

1986
In June, a WS retrospective exhibition opens at the Ulster Museum, Belfast. It was subsequently shown in Dublin and Edinburgh.
For the second year running, WS is awarded a Korn Ferry prize at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (jointly, with John Hoyland).

1988
The Tate Gallery’s exhibition , ‘Portrait of the Artist’, included WS's only self-portrait; it was reproduced on the jacket of the accompanying book.
WS completed his last two lithographs with Stanley Jones of the Curwen Press.

1989
WS died on 28 December at his home in Coleford. He had suffered for some years from Alzheimer’s disease.

1990
On 15 January WS was buried as he requested in the grave that already contained his father as well as his sister Violet in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. A memorial exhibition of WS’s work was shown as part of the Royal Academy Summer Show.

1999
Mary Scott died on 28 April at home in Coleford and was subsequently laid to rest beside WS in Enniskillen.

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