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John Houston


1930 - 2008

Painter. Born in Buckhaven (Fife), Houston was educated in the High School there and then trained at the Edinburgh College of Art (1948-54) under Sir William Gillies (1898 - 1973). He joined the staff of the College the following year, after time spent travelling in Italy with fellow student David Michie (b.1928), and rose to become Deputy Head of the School of Drawing and Painting until his retirement in 1989. Principally a landscape painter, Houston takes his inspiration from the East Coast of Scotland. His style is expressionist, painting landscapes, seascapes, still-life and the human form in oil and watercolour, using strong colours to evoke atmosphere and changing light. His portrait of Sir Alexander Gibson (1926-95) is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Other works can be seen at the Aberdeen Art Gallery, City Art Centre (Edinburgh), Hunterian Gallery (Glasgow), Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery, McManus Gallery (Dundee), National Gallery of Scotland and the Perth Museum and Art Gallery.

In 1956, Houston married painter Elizabeth Blackadder (b.1931). He was elected to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1972 and awarded an OBE in 1990.

Houston died in Edinburgh.


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