Menorah by William Wilson, a cartoon for a stained glass window,
the polychrome design in pencil and gouache on paper, in two parts.
William Wilson (1905–1972) learned stained glass making in an apprenticeship with James Ballantyne, and by studying under Herbert Hendrie. In 1932 he was awarded a Carnegie Travelling Scholarship by the Royal Scottish Academy, which he used to study at Edinburgh College of Art and to travel in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. In these travels he made pen and ink drawings of Venice, and Madrid, Granada, Ronda, and Toledo. He studied printmaking under Adam Bruce Thomson and became an accomplished watercolourist. He studied further at the Royal College of Art, London, producing etchings and engravings of subjects such as “Loch Scavaig, Skye” in the 1930s.
Wilson taught stained glass making at Edinburgh College of Art. He started his own studio in 1937, making stained glass windows for Canterbury Cathedral and a number of Scottish Churches. As well as religious stained glass, he made secular pieces such as “The Irish Jig” which was originally fitted in his Edinburgh home – now in The Scottish National Gallery http://www.nationalgalleries.org/collection/artists-a-z/w/artist/william-wilson
Wilson made the “exceptional” windows at the Morningside North parish church, Edinburgh, now a community building. He made the East window for Ardwell church, and a window for Dunino church, Fife. He made 16 windows between 1952 and 1961 for Brechin Cathedral, Angus, Scotland and is responsible for four windows in the chapel of the University of St Andrews, though given his increasing blindness the final two may have been partly the work of his assistants.
Wilson’s largest surviving set of windows is at Craigiebuckler church, Aberdeen. The windows form a single scheme covering the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible. One of his last windows is his 1965 stained glass image of St Columba in the Abbey Church, Iona.
The University of St Andrews describes Wilson as “one of Scotland’s great artists, a master of the arts of printmaking, painting and stained glass” and this despite his increasing blindness through his life due to suffering from diabetes.