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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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3572 videos foundNext > 

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 ov...

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. L...

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 http://www.whysman.co.uk |...

George Wyllie Exhibition. Mitchell Library. Glasgow , Scotland.


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 Archi...

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 a...

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 prot...

George Wyllie at the Scottish Parliament, Festival of Politics

http://www.whysman.co.uk As part of this year's Festival of Politics a selection of artworks by RGI artist George Wyllie MBE (1921-2012) are on show in the g...

First Minister Alex Salmond Opens George Wyllie Retrospective

In Pursuit of the Question Mark - A Retrospective Exhibition 3 November 2012 - 2 February 2013 Open 10am - 5pm, Monday - Saturday Mitchell Library Exhibition...

George Wyllie, The Cosmic Voyage

Clip from George Wyllie, The Cosmic Voyage. Filmed and edited by Martin Laycock.

3572 videos foundNext > 

7 news items

Greenock Telegraph
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 05:56:15 -0700

Talks are being held between the George Wyllie Foundation and a number of bodies to try to establish a permanent home for the creations. Foundation chairman Peter Thierfeldt told the Tele the Custom House, pictured, would be the ideal location for ...
Inverclyde Now
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 07:17:46 -0700

A HOST of previously unseen works by internationally renowned Gourock artist George Wyllie has gone on display in Greenock. The free exhibition is on at The Beacon Arts Centre, Custom House Quay until 16 July. Wyllie, who died in 2012 at the age of 90, ...
Herald Scotland
Sun, 06 Jul 2014 19:03:45 -0700

THE late, great Scottish artist George Wyllie was known for producing certain works that were symbolically fragile or ephemeral. THE late, great Scottish artist George Wyllie was known for producing certain works that were symbolically fragile or ...
Herald Scotland
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:00:00 -0700

Thousands of people file past his 48-feet-high painting from 1999 of the earth's strata in Glasgow's Buchanan Galleries every day. In front of it is a rock weighing 400kg suspended on a stainless-steel beam made by his good friend, the late George Wyllie.
Greenock Telegraph
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 07:03:45 -0700

It has emerged that the landmark building could be selected to house the late artist's work — and it's hoped this could inspire an 'artists' quarter' in the riverside area. The George Wyllie Foundation is looking for a base for his creations, and ...
Greenock Telegraph
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 05:00:00 -0700

A DINGHY that may have inspired late Gourock artist George Wyllie's famous Paper Boat has been uncovered — in his back garden. Tom Blackmore with the dinghy and its smaller version in George Wyllie's garden. It was hidden under brambles and ...
Greenock Telegraph
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 05:56:15 -0700

ART fans have canvassed enough support to spruce up an eye-catching tribute to late Gourock-based artist George Wyllie. Share this image. A chain of giant question mark sculptures along the shoreline from Port Glasgow to Langbank have become a ...

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