Scottie Wilson

1891–1972, Scottish

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Louis Freeman (who later changed his name to Robert “Scottie” Wilson) grew up in a tenement room- and-kitchen in Glasgow and left home at the age of nine to be a drummer boy in the army, where he acquired the nickname “Scottie,” commonly applied to Scottish soldiers.

Scottie Wilson’s early drawings were populated by malevolent figures that he described as “evils and greedies.” He started creating his totemlike figures and patterns, often built up of parallel lines, in his secondhand shop in Toronto. Years later, Wilson described how he was listening to Mendelssohn when “all of a sudden I dipped the bulldog pen into a bottle of ink and started drawing—doodling I suppose you’d call it—on the cardboard tabletop.”1 His later works are benevolent, decorative depictions of nature, especially birds, fish, flowers, and fauna, which (perhaps coincidentally) happen also to be the three major components of the crest of Glasgow, where he spent much of his childhood. He also designed and hand painted earthenware with the same iconography for England’s Royal Worcester Porcelain Company. Artists André Breton and Pablo Picasso were early collectors of his now widely sought-after work.

Portfolio of Work

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Square with Seven Circles, ca. 1950

Ink and crayon on paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Green Brown Greedies, ca. 1946

Ink, crayon, and watercolor on paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Figure-8 Faces, 1946

Crayon and watercolor on paper

British

Pinwheel, ca. 1935-1940

Pencil, colored pencil, and ink on paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Sailing Totems, ca. 1929-1942

Pencil, colored pencil, and ink on paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Spring, ca. 1960

Colored ink on paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Temple of light, ca. 1942

Colored pencil and ink on paper

British

Center Fish Circle on Black, c. 1965

Pencil, colored pencil, and watercolor on black paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Red Vase, ca. 1960

Colored ink on paper

British

Yellow Fish and Faces, c. 1935

Pencil, ink, and crayon on paper

British

Black/Pink Fish and Faces, ca.1942-50

Ink and crayon on paper

British

Hand-Painted Plate, 1960

Ceramic with hand-painted overglaze

British

Hand-Painted Plate, 1960

Ceramic with hand-painted overglaze

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Scottie Wilson: Peddler Turned Painter

Book about Scottie Wilson

British

Animal and Globe, 1935-40

Ink and crayon on paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

The Greedies,1945

Pen, ink, and watercolor on paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

3 Vases, 1955-65

Ink on board

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

The Magic Castle in the Mirror, 1955

Colored ink on paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Orange and Purple Swans, 1955-65

Ink on board

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Hand-Painted Plate, 1960

Ceramic with hand-printed overglaze

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Red Fish Blue Fish in Brown Circle, 1960-72

Watercolor, ink and gouache on paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Blue Birds in the Tree, ca. 1960

Ink and crayon on black paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Blue Birds in the Tree, ca. 1960

Crayon and ink on black paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Yellow Birds in the Tree, ca.1960

Felt-tip pen on black paper

British

Butterfly Palace II, ca. 1965 - 72

Gouache on paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Five Butterflies, ca. 1965 - 72

Gouache, crayon, and watercolor on paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Five Circles on Blue, ca. 1965 -72

Gouache on paper

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Black and White with Yellow Windows, ca. 1965 - 72

Gouache and ink on board

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Big Blue Butterfly, ca. 1971

Gouache on cardboard

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Coffee Cup and Saucer,1962

Glazed earthenware

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Coffee Pot, 1962

Glazed earthenware

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Cruet Tray with Salt and Pepper Shaker, 1962

Glazed earthenware

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Eggcup, 1962

Glazed earthenware

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Oval Platter, 1962

Glazed earthenware

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Royal Worcester ceramics with design by Scottie Wilson, 1962

Glazed earthenware

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Royal Worcester ceramics with design by Scottie Wilson, 1962

Glazed earthenware

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Black Mouse, n.d.

Pen, ink and crayon

British

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Endnotes 1. Helen Marzolf, Scottie Wilson: The Canadian Drawings (Regina, Saskatchewan: Dunlop Art Gallery, 1989), 8.