Alasdair Gray: Works in Print: Ground Floor Gallery

5 - 27 April 2024

Alasdair Gray (1934 - 2019), was an author and artist, whose work has been uniquely influential to Scottish arts and literature. Born and raised in Glasgow, Gray studied Design and Mural Painting at the Glasgow School of Art. Despite his formal training as an artist, Gray is perhaps best known for his contributions to literature. His 1981 novel, Lanark, is one of the most significant works of Scottish fiction, and has remained a cult classic. Many of his most recognisable works of art come in the form of illustrations of his texts. Gray followed on from a tradition of writers who had also illustrated their own work, such as William Blake and Rudyard Kipling. His unique literary world-building was vividly expanded by his distinct illustrative style.


His print 'Bella Caledonia' depicts the character Bella Baxter, portrayed by Oscar winner Emma Stone in Yorgas Lanthimos' 2023 film Poor Things, based on the 1992 novel by Alasdair Gray of the same name. Bella is the female Frankenstein around whom the narrative revolves. Her story of self-discovery and independence echoes the spirit of the character illustrated here as Bella Caledonia, a romantic metaphor for a complex but future-facing Scotland.

Alasdair made occasional prints throughout his life and later on printmaking became a major part of his artistic output. His written language was intrinsically intertwined with the visual and this was explored through a long lasting relationship formed with the Print Studio, and the Master Printers.


A selection of 17 framed works comprise the exhibition in the ground floor gallery, but the full range of Print Studio publications illustrated here are available to view and purchase.