Obituary: Bill Scott, sculptor and Edinburgh College of Art Professor, 76

SCULPTOR. 'Professor Bill Scott of Edinburgh College of Art'at home in his Roslin studio,with some of his sculptures
SCULPTOR. 'Professor Bill Scott of Edinburgh College of Art'at home in his Roslin studio,with some of his sculptures
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Tributes have been paid to eminent sculptor and Edinburgh College of Art Professor Bill Scott, who died earlier this month aged 76.

His colleagues have described him as a sculptor who helped his fellow artists to “change the way we see the world”.

Born in Dumfriesshire in 1935, Bill studied sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art in the 1950s and at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1959 and 1960.

After a year of teaching in Fife, in 1961 he returned to Edinburgh where he taught at ECA and became head of the school of sculpture from 1990 until 1997 and was appointed professor in 1994.

He retired from teaching in 2000 and was elected president of the Royal Scottish Academy in 2007. He was also chairman of the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.

Bill was a beloved husband to Phyl, father to Alex, Beth and Jeanie, and grandfather to Michael, Evie and Seren.

Upon being awarded his honorary fellowship in 2011, ECA head of art Stuart Bennett said of him: “Bill is a sculptor who often uses figuration in his work.

“These figures are not representational of the body but represent ideas, particularly in relation to measuring personal space.

“In his work Bill asks questions about personal space and, by natural extension, public space.

“They are commodities we all feel strongly about but it is difficult to pin down what we mean by public or personal space. Bill makes sculpture that expresses that sensation.”

He continued: “Professor Bill Scott is an inspirational teacher and a remarkable sculptor with quiet influence and generosity of spirit.

“At the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Professor Marcel Gimond taught Bill in the sculpture atelier. As a young man Gimond was friends with Renoir. Bill felt some kind of connection through making sculpture, between him, Gimond and Renoir but he also added, ‘What the heck it all adds up to, I do not know!’”

Paris at that time was home to many influential artists, musicians and writers. At an opening Bill encountered the writer William Burroughs, who popularised the cut-up technique.

His non-linear approach was a clear influence on Bill’s thinking.