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Telephone: 0131 226 6932 or 0845 388 5879
46 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3NH, Scotland (TSOH)

Biography and current catalogue for

Sir Robin J. Philipson HRA PPRSA FRSA RSW RGI DLitt LLD (1916 - 1992) 

Born 17th December 1916 in Broughton-in-Furness, Lancashire, he was schooled in Whitehaven. His family moved to Gretna when he was fourteen and he attended Dumfries Academy before enrolling in Edinburgh College of Art from 1936 to 1940, studying under, among others, William Gillies and John Maxwell. He made a particular study of Oskar Kokoschka and his early subjects - landscapes, interiors and still lifes were influenced by the Austrian expressionist. Following his graduation, he joined the King’s Own Scottish Borderers in India, seeing action against the Japanese with 2nd Battalion in Burma.. Returning from the war, he joined the staff of the Edinburgh College of Art in 1947 where his work showed the strong influence of Gillies and Maxwell. His experiences during the war in the East inspired a renowned series, beginning in the early 1950s, of paintings of cock fights. His widow, Diana, tells me that his mother had kept cockerels in Lancashire and that this informed his later interest and he had made sketches of cock-fighting in Burma. Whereas in the 1950s, he had been influenced by American abstract expressionism, in the 1960s he turned to more general, figurative studies, in particular of church and cathedral interiors, particularly altars, stained glass and the Crucifixion. Against these, a counter-theme, his paintings and drawings of women of the demi-monde served as an irreverent foil. Throughout his painting career, he exhibited an excited energy and technical virtuosity, continuing to use bold colours and heavy impasto to develop a distinctive, Scottish, oeuvre. A likeable, popular man, he garnered many honours and was President of the Royal Scottish Academy from 1973 to 1983, being knighted in 1976 for his services to the arts in Scotland.
Robin Philipson died of cancer in Edinburgh on 26th May 1992.

HRA, PPRSA, regular exhibitor at RSA, RSW & GI. Represented in numerous collections, including SNGMA, Glasgow AG, City of Edinburgh collection.