F. E. McWilliam
McWilliam was born in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, the son of Dr William McWilliam, a local GP. Growing up in Banbridge had a great influence on his work. He made references to furniture makers such as Carson the Cooper and Proctors in his letters to his friend, Marjorie Burnett.
He studied for a time at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, where he was later to end up teaching. During the first year of the Second World War he joined the Royal Air Force and was stationed in England where he was engaged in interpreting aerial reconnaissance photographs. Even during this time he was still able to exhibit and teach art.
Commissions included the Four Seasons Group for the Festival of Britain exhibition in 1951. McWilliam exhibited at Waddington Galleries, London, and had a major retrospective show at the Tate Gallery in 1989.
In 1964 he was awarded an Honorary D.Litt. from the Queen's University Belfast. In 1966 he was awarded a C.B.E. and in 1971 he won the Oireachtas Gold Medal. McWilliam is represented in many public collections, including MOMA (New York) and Tate Britain.
In September 2009 Banbridge District Council opened a Gallery and Studio dedicated to the work of and named after McWilliam.
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