William Wilkins was born in 1938. On his mother’s side, he is descended from the doctors of Myddfai of Welsh legend and he is the great-grandson of the architect of the National Gallery in London. Brought up in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, he trained at Swansea College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s he had a series of sensationally successful exhibitions in leading New York and London galleries. At that time Hilton Kramer, the New York Times art critic, wrote under the headline ‘British Artist Dazzles’: “There is something both very modest and very courageous in Mr. Wilkins’ art. And something very refreshing, too. Against all the empty-headed injunctions of modern ideology, he dared to be himself, to go his own way. Bravo!”
William is a pointillist, building up an image from a series of tiny dots of paint, in the style of Seurat. This is a painstakingly slow process, and necessarily means few paintings are produced.
William is also the founder chairman of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust, Project Director of Middleton National Botanic Garden of Wales, former Director of the Aberglasney Restoration Trust, and Chairman of the Artes Mundi Prize and, therefore, does not have as much time to paint as he would like.
National Museum of Wales; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Arts Council of Wales; University of Wales, Aberystwyth; University College, Swansea; Contemporary Art Society of Wales; Private Collections Worldwide.
Honorary Fellow, Cardiff University; Chancellor’s Medal, Glamorgan University; Honorary Fellow, University of Wales Institute Cardiff; Awarded CBE; Honorary Fellow, Swansea Institute of Higher Education; Honorary Fellow, Royal Institute of British Architects; Honorary Fellow, Trinity College, Carmarthen; Honorary Research Associate, St. David’s University College, Lampeter; Elected to the Royal Cambrian Academy; First International Artist in Residence, Artists for the Environment Foundation, Delaware Water Gap National Park, New Jersey; Ingram Merrill Foundation Grant; Welsh Arts Council Grant; Elected member of the 56 Group Wales; Welsh Arts Council Bursary.