Obituary: David Gulland, 79

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One of Scotland’s leading glass artists and engravers has died at the age of 79.

David Gulland was born in Edinburgh on March 15, 1934, the son of Mary and Morgan Gulland and brother to Derek and Douglas.

After distinguishing himself in visual and performing arts at George Watson’s College, he attended Edinburgh College of Art from 
1951-56, where he specialised in copper wheel engraving, an art form dating back to ancient Rome.

His talent saw him win two postgraduate scholarships, enabling him to travel and work in Europe.

After returning to Scotland, he trained as a teacher at Moray House College and taught art in Edinburgh and Dalbeattie, before taking up the position of teacher and Church of Scotland missionary on Fair Isle in Shetland, where he and his family, including wife Pamela, who acted as the district nursing sister, lived for three years.

While he had continued his passion for glass engraving in his spare time, he was able to concentrate on his passion full-time from 1970 when Caithness Glass approached him to help set up the engraving department at the factory in Wick.

He spent the next ten years living and working there before, in 1979, David decided to set up his own business, moving the family to Kirkcudbright, in Dumfries and Galloway, where he set up his glass-engraving studio.

David’s main work was as a copper wheel engraver on small glass pieces of hollowware and sculpted blocks, but he also created large-scale windows, using a sand-blasting technique for the Scottish Equitable Life Assurance Company in Edinburgh, the Lockerbie Disaster Memorial and the Robert Burns Bicentennial Lamp in Kirkcudbright.

His windows can be found in churches as far apart as Fair Isle and Udimore in Sussex.

His work also survives in prestigious commissions of glassware for the National Trust for Scotland, the British Medical Association and the TC Farries library awards, which were presented annually at the House of Commons.

Particularly notable are the glass sundials which he developed along with his friend, the mathematician and engineer George Higgs.

Most of their sundials are in private ownership, but they are on public view in the Leominster Public Library in Herefordshire and the George Higgs mem­orial window in the Tolbooth Art Centre in Kirkcudbright.

David also provided designs for stonework, including his last public work, the Robert Burns Rock, for The People’s Project in Dumfries – a nine-tonne sandstone sculpture unveiled by Princess Anne two weeks before his death.

David Gulland is survived by his wife Pamela, his three children Louise, Jacqueline and Charles, eight grand-children and one great-grandson.