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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. ^ "georgewyllie.com". http://georgewyllie.com/. The friends of George Wyllie. 
  9. ^ New Broom page on Manchester City Galleries
  10. ^ 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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105 news items

Herald Scotland

Herald Scotland
Tue, 14 Jul 2015 16:20:12 -0700

AN exhibition featuring never before art by the late Scottish artist George Wyllie is to open in Paisley later this week. The Why?sman show at Paisley Museum, opening on Friday, also looks at Wyllie's most famous works including A Day Down a Goldmine ...
Glasgow Evening Times
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 20:56:15 -0700

film about the highly acclaimed artist, George Wyllie, starring Bill Paterson and directed by one of Scotland's leading film-makers, Murray Grigor, will be screened at Paisley Arts Centre on 26 August. Murray Grigor will also be in attendance to ...
Herald Scotland
Fri, 09 Jan 2015 16:27:35 -0800

A large steel eagle proudly stands guard at the entrance of a new exhibition of work by the late George Wyllie at Summerhall in Edinburgh. In a previous life, this vast, sprawling arts venue was a vet school, so it's fitting that Wyllie's eagle, which ...
Mon, 27 Jul 2015 04:26:15 -0700

Councillor Jim Harte, chairman of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, states “We are delighted to have been working with The George Wyllie Foundation to bring this incredible exhibition to Paisley Museum. “With its combination of serious and humorous art, and ...

The Student

The Student
Tue, 03 Feb 2015 04:00:00 -0800

Located in the creative warren of Summerhall is the posthumous exhibition of Scottish artist George Wyllie's work, entitled Keeping The Balance. Aged 90 when he died, Wyllie didn't enter the art world until his 50s. His art, mainly sculpture, can be ...
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 ...
Herald Scotland
Wed, 16 May 2012 02:50:52 -0700

George Wyllie, one of the most celebrated and unusual Scottish artists of all time, has died at the age of 90. He had been been in hospital recovering from a viral infection when he suffered a heart attack last night. Wyllie's death comes in a year ...

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