Obituary: Mary Louise Coulouris, artist, 72

Mary Louise Colouris created artworks to adorn many public spaces
Mary Louise Colouris created artworks to adorn many public spaces
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Mary Louise Coulouris, an acclaimed artist who lived and worked in the Lothians, has died, aged 72.

Although born in New York City and raised in Hollywood as the daughter of English film star George Coulouris, Mary spent the latter half of her life in Scotland, having fallen in love with Glaswegian, Gordon Wallace.

From her home studio at Strawberry Bank in Linlithgow, West Lothian, she created works for numerous one-woman or group shows, including at the Glasgow Art Centre, the Scottish Gallery, the Scottish Arts Club on Edinburgh’s Rutland Square and the city’s Kingfisher Gallery.

She also had studio space at the Wasps studios in Dalry, Edinburgh, and at the Edinburgh Printmakers’ studio on Union Street.

Mary had about 20 solo exhibitions in Britain, France, Greece and the US and she also contributed to the Edinburgh-based Art in Healthcare charity, which helps hospitals, care homes, surgeries and other medical centres obtain artwork to brighten patients’ lives.

Among her best-known public murals is the one – painted in 1985 and refurbished in 1993 – that adorns the waiting room at Linlithgow railway station.

The Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh houses three commissioned carpets designed by Mary, while a series of her watercolours adorns a wall at the House of Lords in Westminster.

Her grandfather was a Greek immigrant to Manchester and she was delighted to visit his homeland through Greek government art scholarships, and see her work on display in Athens. When her husband retired ten years ago, they spent much of the year on the Greek island of Hydra, which became a second home.

Coulouris attended St Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith and Parliament Hill School in Camden before doing a two-year course at Chelsea School of Art. She then won a place at the highly-respected Slade School of Fine Art on Gower Street, a branch of University College London, where she studied under the painter Sir William Coldstream and printmaker Anthony Gross.

Her work there attracted the attention of the artist LS Lowry, the writer John Steinbeck, art-collecting actors such as Vincent Price and Stewart Granger, and a then up-and-coming politician, John Smith, future leader of the Labour Party.

She met Gordon Wallace, a poetically-inclined civil engineer who had moved south to London during the Swinging Sixties, while she was drawing by the Regent’s Canal in Camden Town.

They lived in the city’s Primrose Hill area, had two children, and moved to Linlithgow in 1976.

Coulouris, who died in hospital in Edinburgh last month after battling motor neurone disease, was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers.

She is survived by Gordon and their children Saro and Duncan.