Local artist celebrated with new display at Holyrood


A selection of paintings by one of Britain’s most significant 20th century modern artists has gone on public display at the Scottish Parliament.Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

The paintings by the St. Andrews-born painter, printmaker and colourist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912 – 2004) were produced towards the end of her life and exhibit the bold use of brushstrokes and colour for which her later style was known.

They were unveiled by the Presiding Officer, the Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, and representatives of the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust, which has loaned the paintings to Parliament.

The Presiding Officer said:

“Here at the Scottish Parliament, we are proud to support and celebrate Scottish artists, so it gives me real pleasure to see these wonderful works by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham going on public display at Holyrood.

“I hope visitors will be struck by the vibrancy of this collection from an artist who made a significant contribution to modernist painting. My sincere thanks go to the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust for loaning these marvellous paintings to the Parliament.”

Geoffrey Bertram, Chairman of the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust, said:

“It is very exciting to have Willie given such significant presence at the heart of Scottish public life. The Scottish Parliament building is a brilliant forum for her art. She was passionate about her Scottish roots and took the influence of her training at Edinburgh College of Art far beyond Scotland’s borders. She is renowned for her successes as a British Modernist in Cornwall but was always deeply Scottish at heart.”


Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912 – 2004), known as Willie, was born in St. Andrews, Fife. She was a prominent member of the St. Ives group of artists and divided her time between studios in St. Ives and St. Andrews. A painter, printmaker, colourist and draftswoman, these works are illustrative of her later style.

The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust was established by the artist herself in 1987. Today, the Trust aims to promote and broaden the understanding and reputation of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s work as one of Britain’s most significant 20th century artists.

The paintings are from the artist’s Surprise Series and Scorpio Series and are on public display outside Committee Rooms 1 and 3. The Scottish Parliament Art Collection can be viewed through our free tours. Find further details.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust:

Scottish and St Ives based artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, CBE (1912-2004), established the Trust in 1987. Through exhibitions and publications, it aims to promote and broaden the understanding and reputation of her work as one of Britain’s most significant 20th century artists. The Trust actively supports individuals to fulfil their potential in the visual arts by providing financial support in education and funding artists’ residencies. For more information about Willie and the Trust visit the Trust's website.

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