Public Art

Graeme Willson is probably the UK's leading mural artist, with a distinguished track record which stretches back over 25 years, beginning with his prize-winning work for the Sunday Times/Arts Council competition "Art into Landscape" held at the Serpentine Gallery in London. He has also been the recipient of numerous awards and commissions, most notably from the Arts Council of Great Britain (l979 Art in Public Places), York Minster (1979, 1980 and 1994 respectively), the London Arts Council (1983) and the RSA Award for Architectural Collaboration (1992). He has also received the Royal Academy Award for Mural Painting for his work at St. Paul' Church in Thamesmead in 1984.

Graeme's public art is now well known to a wide public, especially in Leeds where his 'Cornucopia' mural by the Corn Exchange has become a familiar landmark since 1990, when it subsequently received the Leeds Award for Architecture and the Environment.

More recently Graeme has been commissioned by the Wimbledon Tennis Club to make studies for another exterior mural on the Club wall near to Centre Court. The mural is expected to take shape in 2009-2010.

  • St. Paulinus

    St. Paulinus

    Oil on canvas

    48" X 30"

    1979

  • St. Hilda of Whitby

    St. Hilda of Whitby

    Oil on canvas

    48" X 30"

    1979

  • St. Edwin

    St. Edwin

    Oil on canvas

    48" X 30"

    1979


These three altarpiece paintings were commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of York Minster in 1979, as a result of winning a competition organised by the Yorks Arts Association. They are both to be found in the ancient Norman Crypt area of the Minster, underneath the choir. Both of the artist's children, Lucy and Jacob, were christened in the crypt in 1980 and '83 respectively.

In 1981, the Surveyor of York Minster, Dr. Charles Brown, approached the artist on behalf of the Dean and Chapter to commission a ceiling painting for the Yorkshire Volunteers Regimental Chapel. The subject was to be 'Christ in Majesty with St. Cuthbert and St. George'. The painting was completed in 1982 and unveiled by the Duchess of Kent.

  • Ceiling Painting, St. Cuthbert's Chapel, York Minster

    Ceiling Painting,
    St. Cuthbert's Chapel,
    York Minster

    Oil on canvas

    22' X 8'

    1981- 82

  • Ceiling Painting, St. Cuthbert's Chapel, York Minster

    Ceiling Painting,
    St. Cuthbert's Chapel,
    York Minster

    Oil on canvas

    22' X 8'

    1981- 82

  • Detail of Christ in Majesty

    Detail of Christ in Majesty


In 1989, Willson was commissioned to paint the 'Cornucopia' mural by Speciality Shops, then owners of the Leeds Corn Exchange. The work is executed in the 'Keim' system of silicate paints, an extremely durable conservation paint system. Completed in autumn 1990 and unveiled by Patrick Nutgens.

"His paintings do not replace, de-nature or dissolve the wall; neither are they arbitrary easel paintings hung on it. Each is completely integrated into the architecture for which it is intended, with an enviable and exemplary alertness to the key features of its surroundings and to their potential for reassembly into powerful original composition."

From catalogue essay by Steven Morant for the exhibition "Collaborations" Royal Institute of British Architects, London 1988.

  • Cornucopia

    Cornucopia

    Keim fresco

    32' X 30'

    1990

    Leeds, Corn Exchange Area

  • Cornucopia

    Cornucopia

    Keim fresco

    1990

    Leeds, Corn Exchange Area

  • Details from Cornucopia

    Details from Cornucopia

    Leeds, Corn Exchange Area


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