Seatown with Unterseeboot

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

William Burns
Born Newton Mearns, 1921-1972

Seatown with Unterseeboot, 1965

Oil on board
Purchased 1968 from the Artist with 50 % NFA grant
Museum number 8-1968

William Burns served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force during the war. In 1944 he enrolled at Glasgow School of Art where he was taught by Ian Fleming.

A keen pilot, he flew a Tiger Moth and Fournier light aircraft. As a result of his experiences flying, the naturalism of his early work gave way to boldy coloured images based on his emotional response to the local coast-line and villages viewed from the sky. This can be seen in Seatown with Unterseeboot with its flattened, aerial perspective. ‘Unterseeboot’ means submarine in German.

Burns’s works oscillate between dramatic, tactile, abstract surfaces in which confidently handled paint is applied with vigour, and evocative representations of the bustle of harbours battered by the raw forces of nature.

Burns died off the Kincardineshire coast in 1972 on a solo flight from Dundee to Aberdeen.

Seatown with Unterseeboot
Funding Logos