Real Lives: Alexander’s art was loved around world

Alexander Cree was a respected art teacher who exhibited regularly. Picture: contributed
Alexander Cree was a respected art teacher who exhibited regularly. Picture: contributed
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Tributes have been paid to a respected artist and teacher.

Alexander Cree was born in Dunfermline in 1929, and spent 1946-1950 studying at Edinburgh College of Art under the tutelage of renowned artist Sir William Gillies.

His work earned him a Diploma in drawing and painting, and The Andrew Grant Scholarship, a travelling fund set up at the behest of Leith Liberal MP Andrew Grant.

A further scholarship award allowed him to travel across France, Spain, Italy and Holland with fellow artist Francis Curran.

Works created during that period, in Caques-sur-Mer and Cadaques, were included in a 2011 retrospective of Mr Cree’s paintings. His creations from this period on the continent are described by friend and colleague Stephen Bunyan as “full of light and high quality”.

Following his travels, Mr Cree spent 1955-7 serving his country through National Service in the Royal Air Force.

On his return to civilian life in 1957, he held a one-man show at the Lyceum Club Gallery before beginning his teaching career, firstly as an art teacher in Fife. He quickly progressed and was appointed principal teacher of art at Dunbar Grammar School in 1963.

Mr Bunyan said: “Over the years he exhibited in a range of group exhibitions in Scottish galleries and with the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour. His work has found its way into private collections in the UK, Sweden, USA, Israel, Japan and Borneo. The Nuffield Foundation and The Scottish Arts Council have also purchased works.”

Mr Cree continued to paint after retiring from teaching in 1987 and a 2011 retrospective of his work held at the New Town’s Open Eye Gallery, featuring paintings exhibited in Boulle frames, which he collected and restored, sold out.

Associate director Michelle Foster said: “I had known Sandy for many years, he had shown his works consistently here for over three decades. Initially it was an occasional watercolour or drawing, but in 2009 we had the pleasure of hosting a very well received retrospective. It was held just after he had moved to Bristol, but he visited for the private view and was on fine form. He was a very gentle soul and always a pleasure to deal with.”

Mr Cree had moved from East Lothian to Bristol for health reasons. His funeral service will be held at Canford Lane Crematorium, Bristol, on March 19 at 2pm. He is survived by brother George, nieces Jacqueline and Carolyn, and great nephews Ian, Daniel and Jack.