ROBERT SCOTT IRVINE DA RSW SSA


Scotman's Obitury 7/9/88

“OTTO” Scott Irvine, as he was universally known to his friends, will be remembered with affection by a great many pupils of the then George Watson's Boy's College, where he was Art Master for over 30 years before his retirement in the 1970s.

A teacher of discernment and distinction, he was also a distinguished artist - the longest-serving member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours - and a man of great integrity and charm.

He was born in Edinburgh in 1906 and (although it was not something one would boast about in George Watson's!) was educated at George Heriot's. He, trained at Edinburgh College of Art from 1922-27, became a teacher, and after some brief experience in schools in Edinburgh and Broughty Ferry, came to Watson's in 1936.

Although at the College of Art he had come under the tutelage of such formidable practitioners of oil painting as Henry Lintott and David Alison, when he began to develop his own art it was to the medium of watercolour that he turned. As a specialist in this medium, his exemplars were possibly more English than Scottish - the planned watercolours of Cotman, the quality of vision of the Nash brothers, of Ravilious, something of Bawden's ingenuity of design. This is a notable choice of masters, and Robert Scott Irvine made from it something very recognisably his own.

Otto was a gregarious person and was proud of his RSW membership and of his memorable Presidency of the Scottish Arts Club in 1952-54. He helped many young artists throughout his life and some will recall him as the liasion organiser for the Young Scottish Artists competitions.

He was a wonderfully civilised man and his charisma was matched by his kindness. He is survived by wife Betty, and their son Henry.

Jack Firth, ‘The Scotsman’ Arts Section, Wedensday, September 7th, 1988 page13