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William Crosbie, 1915 - 1999. Artist
© The Artist’s Estate

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William Crosbie, 1915 - 1999. Artist

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
William Crosbie was born in Hankow, China of Scottish parents. The family returned to Glasgow in 1926 and Crosbie entered Glasgow School of Art in 1932. During World War II he served in the Merchant Navy, but continued to produce paintings. After the war an important part of his work was mural painting, commissioned through his association with architects like Basil Spence and Jack Coia. The public reaction to Crosbie’s abstract surrealist paintings in the early years was largely hostile. However Crosbie’s work in painting murals, building models for architects, creating altarpieces and illustrating books allowed him the freedom to continue painting unrestricted. This drawing by caricaturist Emilio Coia is from Coia’s latter years and is closer to straight portraiture than his earlier swift, linear drawings. These drawings covered a great variety of members of Scottish artistic and political scene of the second half of the twentieth century.

Glossary Open

Abstract art

Art in which there is no attempt to represent anything existing in the world, particularly used of the 20th century onwards. ‘Abstraction’ refers to the process of making images that may in part derive from the visible world but which are reduced to basic formal elements.


A portrait with the facial features exaggerated for comic or satirical effect.


An artwork or design attached or applied directly to a wall.


A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

Abstract art, Caricature , Mural, Surrealism


  • Acc. No. PG 3150
  • Medium Pencil, ink and coloured chalks on paper
  • Size 47.00 x 33.00 cm (framed:64.80x 50.00 x 3.10 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1999