Born Broughton-in-Furness, Lancs, died in Edinburgh 1992. Attended school at Whitehaven, Cumberland but when he was fourteen his family moved to Gretna. Attended Dumfries Academy before enrolling at Edinburgh College of Art 1936-1940. He joined the King’s Own Scottish Borderers serving in India during WW2. After the War he joined the staff of the College of Art in Edinburgh where his work quickly showed the influence of Gillies and Maxwell. Enjoyed the sensuous handling of strong colour, sometimes harsh composition and often satirical in mood. In the early 1950s began a series of paintings depicting cockfights, a theme which remained with him for some years. During the 1960s became interested in church interiors, crucifixions and more general figurative subjects. His compositions became increasingly abstract although the subjects generally remained identifiable. In the 1970s he searched for greater clarity of design, more frequently using animals, especially zebra with a pervasive menace and strong hint of sexuality. Retired as head of the School of Drawing and Painting at ECA in 1982. Used heavy impasto and developed his own highly distinctive oeuvre. Represented in many private and public collections.
Elected SSA 1948, ARSA 1952, RSW 1954, RSA 1962, FRSA 1965, PRSA 1973 remaining in office for 10 years, knighted in 1976.
Exhibited Edinburgh Festival 1983, no 21