Scottie Wilson Grotesque Design with Birds and Fish About 1940 © The Estate of the Artist


Born 1891
Died 1972
Nationality Scottish
Birth place Glasgow
Death place London

Scottie (Robert) Wilson was born in Glasgow. He joined the army at the age of sixteen, serving in India and South Africa and also lived in Canada for fifteen years from 1930. A self-taught artist, Wilson began to draw in the 1930s and held his first solo exhibition in Toronto in 1943. On returning to Britain, he became a well-known character on the London art scene. Wilson’s distinctive drawings are decorative and fantastical. His favourite motifs include stylized fish, birds, flowers, trees, self-portraits and totem pole-like symbols. Preferring to use crayon, pen and ink as they allowed him to work quickly, he also experimented with gouache. Wilson’s work was admired by the Surrealists and by Jean Dubuffet and Picasso.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms

Art Brut

A term used by the French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created spontaneously. He identified this practice among psychiatric patients and children. It is also called 'outsider art'.