Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, painter, printmaker and draughtsman, was born in St Andrews, Fife, and enrolled at Edinburgh College of Art in 1931. She was awarded her first scholarship in June 1935, and further awards in each of the following five years.

During the Second World War, Barns-Graham moved to St Ives in Cornwall. The group of painters now known as the St Ives School began to form only after the end of the war, living or staying frequently there. The next ten years saw the full development of her powers as a modern painter. It was, in general terms, in line with the St Ives School, starting with abstractions based firmly on perception, as in her Glacier paintings of the early 1950s, and moving to a free and intensely personal use of the brush.

From 1973 until her death in 2004, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham divided her time between St Andrews and Cornwall, where she was a prominent member of the artistic community, which included Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth. Her productivity, as demonstrated by exhibitions in London and at the Tate St Ives, was astounding. A highly successful collaboration with Carol Robertson at Graal Press in Midlothian produced a series of screenprints (Another Time is one of this series), which relate closely to her later paintings. Celebrating her 85th birthday in 1997, Barns-Graham commented: “I feel free to take risks, using as broad a brush as I like, or as colourfully … (being) aware of a sense of urgency, hoping to achieve a simple statement in form and colour.”