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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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2924 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. L...

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: 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 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...

George Wyllie sculpture in Hattersley

The deer was installed in 1973 at the community centre in Hattersley by Scottish artist George Wyllie. In 2012 a new home for this important piece is needed ...

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: 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 Artwork Celebrated

An exhibition celebrating the life work of renowned Scottish artist George Wyllie will open in at The Mitchell Library in Glasgow on Friday. The self-taught ...

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 ecolo...

George Wyllie, The Cosmic Voyage

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

2924 videos foundNext > 

132 news items

Herald Scotland
Fri, 09 Jan 2015 16:27:35 -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

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 ...
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 ...
Scottish Daily Record
Thu, 01 Nov 2012 08:27:40 -0700

AROUND 1000 paintings and sculpture pieces by artist George Wyllie are going on display. The exhibition, at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, shows five decades of his work including handmade Christmas cards he sent in 1945 and the stories behind his ...

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 ...
Herald Scotland
Mon, 29 Oct 2012 21:18:45 -0700

The work is part of the George Wyllie Retrospective: In Pursuit of the Question Mark, at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, which opens this Saturday. It features works never seen before, as well as pieces rescued from obscurity. Among the 300 artworks ...
Herald Scotland
Wed, 24 Jul 2013 19:09:04 -0700

A George Wyllie Foundation, featuring a large amount of his most important works, has been established and will be formally launched next month, but the sheer amount of material in Wyllie's studio – totalling, among other items, six tonnes of metal ...

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