Bill Littlejohn RSA

“On my way to visit Bill Littlejohn RSA in his studio in Arbroath I spent the train journey catching glimpses of the North Sea. A bright, clear winter’s day with crisp blue skies, marred on the horizon with the dark blur of approaching squalls. In the sunlight, the sea surface shimmered back a glittering silver. A perfect day for visiting a man who has a great influence in Scotland, a long connection with the East coast, a history of a life lived by the ocean. A perfect day for a visit to a town known for its fish… its Smokies.


Standing in the studio at Bill’s home, the glittering returned to me. Burnished paint in silvers and gold glinting back at my eyes mixing with hot pinks, lush greens, deep oranges and blues that sing of summer. I found myself surrounded by a lifetime of collecting and influences. Exquisite porcelain jugs and plates, intricate woodblock prints from Japan, delicate bonsai trees and shoals of fish. Shoal upon shoal of fish in fact, leaping and playing across watercolours, prints, porcelain and textiles. Fish that find themselves twisting and darting across some of the most beautiful watercolours imaginable. Fish that have become familiar to me through their appearances in Bill’s work. A brief flash of scales caught under the water-like surface of the glass.


It was this flickering of colour and shiny brightness that that led me to the selection for the Friends Coffee Room. Tones of warmth and chill, radiance and reflection. The seasons delivered to us in hues best appreciated, not in the gallery, but in the cosy lights of home. And in our homes is where they deserve to be. Our own windows into the world of one of the most skilled aesthetes of our time.”


Colin R Greenslade
Exhibitions Coordinator, RSA


The exhibition is open to RSA Friends or by appointment. If you would like to view this exhibition please contact a gallery assistant in the building or call the Friends on 0131 225 3922.