William Littlejohn RSA

RSA Lower Galleries


A retrospective look at the career of the late William Littlejohn, featuring oils, watercolours and prints from his studio. Born in Arbroath in 1929, Littlejohn studied Fine Art at Dundee College of Art, before becoming Lecturer in (and then Head of) Fine Art at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, retiring in1991.


In 2006, the late William Littlejohn left the entire contents of his studio to the Royal Scottish Academy. As well as numerous oils, watercolours and drawings there is also a wealth of sketchbooks, notebooks and objects – some of which appear in the works.


This exhibition will investigate the influences on the working practice of the artist, highlighting his involvement with Hospitalfield and the Arbroath School as well as looking at his interests such as life in the North East of Scotland and, diversely, the Japanese aesthetic. Littlejohn was always been attracted to Japanese Art, and in 1984 he was awarded an RSA Gillies Award to travel to Japan. We can see this influence in his early studies and in the beautifully executed and restrained oils, but it is in the later watercolours where this is most evident.


William Littlejohn was elected as a member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1973, the Royal Glasgow Institute in 1989 and the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1990. He has had several one-man exhibitions both in Scotland and England and his paintings are in several private and public collections including H.M. The Queen, Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Bank of Scotland and Edinburgh and Aberdeen Universities.


There are a series of talks and events in association with the exhibition. Please visit our talk & events page for more information. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a full colour publication with essays by friends and colleagues. Many works are available for purchase.