Throughout December the Minster Gallery is proud to present a Retrospective Exhibition of the works of Winchester artist William Graham.
William lived in Winchester for the last twenty years and passed away at the age of over 90 in December 2011. This collection depicts his aim in painting which was to make the picture a thing of beauty. His unique soft pallet and his subject matters are inspired by Bonnard, the early works of Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec. He leaned towards those subjects which offer the casual moments of pleasure and delight, he claimed that he worked best when the relationship between the subjects means, and ends, in agreement. He had the ability to paint a world that is no longer and his talent in painting in oil enables us to feel the nostalgia of the artist for these lost times.
William Graham was born in 1923 at Riccarton Junction, a railway station between Carlisle and Hawick, where his father was a railway employee. In 1926 his family and several others were moved to Hawick where William Graham grew up and went to school. He always was drawing or painting as a child but failed to win any bursaries to art school. He fell out with his father over his refusal to join a firm of engineers and was obliged to become an apprentice painter with James Haig of the High Street in Hawick.
When war started he joined the Air Training Corps and when he was called up in 1942 was trained as an Instrument Repairer. He served four and a half years ending up in Buckeburg, Germany where he attended EVT (Education and Vocational Training) classes in Art and Design. On his demobilization, he applied for an ex-serviceman’s grant and was invited to show work to a famous civil servant, Mr. Dickie, at the Ministry of Education which at that time was in Curzon Street, London. He was advised to prepare a folio of work and to return in a year. The year, 1948, was spent attending Heatherleys Art School. He was then given a grant and Mr. Dickie suggested the Central School of Arts and Crafts. William Graham was delighted to meet William Johnstone the new principal who hailed from Denholm, near Hawick. In addition to drawing and painting William Graham took as a craft, Mural Painting. After his 4 year training at Art School he became assistant to Hans Tisdall in the evening classes at the Central. Later, with his colleague Leslie Cole, moved the evening classes to Stanhope Institute, Queen Square, London, where he taught adults for several years. He painted decorations for interior designers as well as showing paintings at the Clarendon Gallery, Portland Road, Holland Park, London. When he moved to Winchester, the Minster Gallery there became promoters of his work .
He donated two paintings to the Scottish Borders Museums & Galleries. They were included in a Touring Art Education Project and were exhibited alongside artists such as Anne Redpath, William Johnstone, FCB Cadell, Peter Howson and Edwardo Paolozzi.
William Graham moved to Edinburgh in July 2011 to be closer to his nephew Jardine and his wife Ellen. He sadly past away a few months later in December.