William Johnstone

1897 - 1981

Painter. Born at Denholm (Scottish Borders), the son of a Borders farmer. His youth was spent at Greenhead, near Selkirk. After service in the army during World War I, he attended Edinburgh College of Art. With his cousin, the composer Francis George Scott (1880 - 1958) and their friend Hugh MacDiarmid (1892 - 1978), he planned a Scottish Renaissance. Indeed Johnstone was in the vanguard of a revival in the Scottish arts, becoming an influential painter combining the abstract and surrealism with images of the Borders landscape. His award of an honorary degree by the University of Edinburgh lead Hope Scott (1897 - 1989), one of his major patrons, to present her collection including many of Johnstone's paintings to the University's Talbot Rice Gallery.

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