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This article is about the Scottish artist. For the Scottish George Cross recipient, see George Wyllie (GC).
George Wyllie - August 2006
Scul?tures in the garden of George Wyllie

George Ralston Wyllie MBE (31 December 1921[1] – 15 May 2012) was a Scottish artist. Wyllie produced a number of notable public works, such as the Straw Locomotive and the Paper Boat.


Wyllie was born in Shettleston, in the east end of Glasgow, and grew up in Craigton, in the south west of the city. He was educated at Bellahouston Academy and Allan Glen's School.[2] He later resided in Gourock. He worked as a customs officer before taking up art.[3] He described himself as a "scul?tor".

Wyllie's Straw Locomotive consisted of a full size steam locomotive, constructed from straw, and suspended from the Finnieston Crane, by the River Clyde in Glasgow.[4] The sculpture was built at the former locomotive works at Springburn, and suspended from the crane for several months during 1987, before being taken back to the Springburn site and ceremonially burnt.[3] The 80-foot Paper Boat was exhibited at The Tramway in Glasgow and at other sites including a placement on the Hudson River in New York,[5] for which visit it carried quotations from Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments.[6]

Wyllie's Slap and Tickle Machine is in the collection of the People's Palace, Glasgow, and wind-up stainless steel palm trees and a sculptural bandstand featured in the café of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

George Wyllie was commissioned in the 1970s to build some French influenced sculptures including General Charles de Gaulle, one of the Eiffel Tower and smaller mustachioed & beret wearing French visages (used as coat hooks) that were dotted around the city's first wine bar, "La Bonne Auberge", in its original site (the basement of the now defunct Beacons Hotel at 7 Park Terrace).

The following year Wyllie contributed a golden eagle made from old car bumpers which adorned the wall of Harvey's Diner, (it took six men to lift and secure it) and two stainless steel palm trees in Harvey's Cocktail Bar at 8 Park Terrace. A gramophone with a rather large fiberglass megaphone was also sited in the bar at Harvey's but is now on display (alongside the Tour d' Eiffel) in La Bonne Auberge located within the Holiday Inn, in Glasgow's theatreland.

One of Wyllie's most famous creations, Charlie Parker & His Band, could be seen within Charlie Parker's Bar in Royal Exchange Square in the 1970s and 1980s, the set was up for sale and was meant to have been on display in a jazz museum .

Wyllie's work can also be seen in the Clyde Clock (depicting a clock on running legs), outside Buchanan bus station and in the Monument to Maternity (depicting a huge nappy pin), on the site of the former Rottenrow Maternity Hospital. Collections: Glasgow Corporation Museum of Transport, Cheshire County Council, Glasgow Cathedral, St. John's Kirk, Perth, St. Mary's Hospital, Lanark, Mitchell Limited, Greenock, and public and private collections at home, USA and Sweden.

Wyllie stood as a list candidate (Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party) for the West of Scotland region in the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary Election.[7]

Wyllie was a president of the Society of Scottish Artists and provides an award for an imaginative work at their annual exhibition.

Wyllie was awarded the MBE in the New Years Honours List 2005.

Selected works[edit]

Publications and films[edit]


  1. ^ "Belated honour for George Wyllie as sculptor hits 90 - Art". Scotsman.com. 2011-12-31. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  2. ^ url = http://www.scottish-places.info/scotgaz/people/famousfirst3883.html
  3. ^ a b Sutherland, Giles (14 April 2012). "Visual joker provides gallery's last laugh". The Times. 
  4. ^ "Straw locomotive, by George Wyllie, 1987". Springburn Virtual Museum. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  5. ^ Shepard, Richard F. (1990-07-13). "Weekender: Monster Model Boat". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  6. ^ Macdonald, Murdo (1994). "The social space in Scottish art". Edinburgh Review 91: 29. 
  7. ^ "War veteran joins Holyrood fight". BBC News. 2007-04-03. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  8. ^ New Broom page on Manchester City Galleries
  9. ^ Life Cycle page on Manchester City Galleries

External links[edit]

Official website

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wyllie — Please support Wikipedia.
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2397 videos foundNext > 

George Wyllie - Paper Boat

Genius and Scul?tor, George Wyllie, built his 78 foot long Paper Boat, 'QM', in 1989 as a celebration - and memorial - to the city's shipbuilding industry.

George Wyllie: In Pursuit of the Question Mark, A Retrospective Exhibition

3 November 2012 - 2 February 2013 Open 10am - 5pm, Monday - Saturday Mitchell Library Exhibition Hall North Street, Glasgow G3 7DN ...

The Straw Locomotive - George Wyllie

It's 25 years since a straw locomotive hung from the Finnieston Crane. It was on the fourth of May, 1987 that it arrived there from Springburn and it hung over the ...

George Wyllie at 90: A Celebration, Aye Write! Glasgow Book Festival

Part of the Whysman Festival: http://www.whysman.co.uk/ Aye Write! joins the national celebration of Wyllie's work with an evening celebrating George at 90 and ...

Some Questions about Govan...In Honour of George Wyllie

As part of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, TS Beall and Matt Baker presented an evening of films and conversation about people, power, and protest ...

Untitled Interview, George Wyllie, The National Review of Live Art, 1987

Produced by Capturing the Past, Preserving the Future, the project to digitize the video archive of the National Review of Live Art. The project was hosted by the ...

A Day Down a Gold Mine by George Wyllie with Russell Hunter

George Wyllie: A Life Less Ordinary at The Collins Gallery

George Wyllie: A Life Less Ordinary http://www.whysman.co.uk/ The final exhibition at the Collins Gallery draws together treasures from George Wyllie's Archive, ...

A Day Down a Goldmine by George Wyllie with John Bett

George Wyllie - Circus Gold

Circus Gold August 1988 ufaFabrik, Berlin Wyllie's 24 hour installation/performance 'Circus Gold' at ufaFabrik, an international centre for culture and ecology ...

2397 videos foundNext > 

132 news items

Herald Scotland
Fri, 09 Jan 2015 16:22:30 -0800

This show, curated by George Wyllie Foundation curator Lynne Mackenzie, focuses on artworks by Wyllie and others created during the lead up to, and in response to, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1988. During his long life, Glasgow-born Wyllie saw ...
Herald Scotland
Wed, 16 May 2012 02:50:52 -0700

Arts writer Jan Patience, chair of the Friends of George Wyllie said: "George Wyllie was a remarkable artist who reached out beyond the confines of the art gallery scene and connected with real people all over the world through his thought-provoking art.
BBC News
Wed, 16 May 2012 02:52:19 -0700

Glasgow-born sculptor George Wyllie has died at the age of 90 following a short illness. He was best known for his giant public works including The Paper Boat and The Straw Locomotive. The Paper Boat sailed along the Clyde on a journey to New York via ...

BBC News

BBC News
Mon, 26 Aug 2013 16:48:45 -0700

An auction of works from the studio of the late Glasgow artist George Wyllie is to be held later. Wyllie, who died last year aged 90, was one of Scotland's most prolific artists whose work can be found in public places around the country. He is best ...
Scottish Daily Record
Fri, 05 Oct 2012 01:45:51 -0700

WHEN Inverclyde artist Alec Galloway found himself waist deep in freezing water on the banks of the lower Clyde, he took some solace from the fact that he wasn't the only one. The late George Wyllie was with him. Alec considered the influential ...

Herald Scotland

Herald Scotland
Fri, 30 Aug 2013 19:09:22 -0700

Today, when hundreds of paper boats will be launched by school children on Clydeside in homage to the artist, more details of the plans of the George Wyllie Foundation have emerged, including the creation of a museum in his name at the Long Room at ...
Scotland on Sunday
Sat, 13 Oct 2012 10:51:53 -0700

It was here that George Ralston Wyllie, a former Navy man who worked for the Customs and Excise, an excellent double bass player and a dab hand at making everything from bogies to children's dancing costumes, became George Wyllie the self-taught artist ...
BBC News
Fri, 02 Nov 2012 10:19:49 -0700

He may not officially have taken up the job until he was in his mid 40s but George Wyllie made up for it in the four decades after. One of the country's most prolific artists, as well as one of the most popular, his work can be found in public places ...

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