Scottie Wilson

(Glasgow, 1891 – London, 1972)


Born in Glasgow, in 1888, Louis Freeman (known as Scottie Wilson) started his artistic career later than most, at the age of 44. Generally considered to have been at the forefront of 20th Century outsider art, he was known particularly for his highly detailed style.

Wilson dropped out of school at the age of 8 to help subsidise his family's meagre income by, amongst other things, selling newspapers on the street. In 1906 he enlisted with the Scottish Rifles and subsequently served in India and South Africa. He bought himself out in 1911 but rejoined in 1914 during World War I to fight on the Western Front. At the end of the war he emigrated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he owned and operated a second-hand shop. It was here, that he began doodling with one of the fountain pens that was for resale. He was 44 years old.

The first dealer to encounter Wilson’s work was a Canadian, Douglas Duncan, who displayed them in various gallery shows.

After receiving recognition for his work in Toronto he moved to London in 1945 and after travelled to France in the early 1950’s.There he was met by Dubuffet and Pablo Picasso, who was also a fan of his work. In the 1960’s, Wilson began creating paintings on ceramics and, subsequently, was commissioned by Royal Worcester to design a series of dinnerware.

Wilson spent his remaining years in Kilburn, an area of northwest London, working alone in his small lodgings.


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