Alexander Goudie RP RGI (1933 - 2004)


"My father, Alexander Goudie, was born in 1933 in the town of Paisley, just outside Glasgow. There were no paintbrushes in the tenement flat where he grew up, no paintings on the walls. His mother, Elizabeth, was convinced that his future lay in an apprenticeship with the family plumbing firm; Goudie Brothers. She would never have believed that, one day, her son would walk across the courtyard at Buckingham Palace to paint the portrait of Her Majesty the Queen. One day...

When I look through the collection of canvasses that he left behind I discover an artist who was always challenging himself. He explored allegory, mythology, poetry; he tussled with complex ideas and compositions; he painted on a scale that was, at times, physically arduous - yet he brought the same commitment and visual eloquence to a single line sketch."

- Lachlan Goudie ROI (Painter, Writer and Broadcaster)   


A brilliant draughtsman and sumptuous colourist, Alexander Goudie was an artist who drew inspiration from a broad range of subjects. In his studio in Glasgow he worked tirelessly, painting portraits of society figures one day and immortalising the labouring Breton peasant the next. In character he was as theatrical as many of the canvasses to which he put his name. Possessed of a self-conviction that refused to bow to any of the artistic trends of the day, he saw himself in the tradition of figurative painting which stretched back from the work of his native Glasgow boys, to encompass the influence of Gauguin, Goya, Velazquez and Titian. He identified with them in his strongly held belief that “the pictures should tell their own story” and that an artist should, above all else, “speak with a clear voice”.


Alexander Goudie RP RGI (1933 - 2004) is widely acclaimed as having been one of Scotland’s finest figurative painters.

Goudie was born in the Renfrewshire town of Paisley in 1933. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art under William Armour, David Donaldson and Benno Schotz. For many years he was a tutor at the school, before dedicating himself to his own studio work.

As a portraitist his sitters included Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Lord Chancellor Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Billy Connolly and a host of other figures drawn from the worlds of politics, commerce and entertainment. Although he achieved great renown as a portrait painter Alexander Goudie distinguished himself in a range of other creative spheres.

1933 Born Paisley, Scotland, 11th November

1950-55 Studied Drawing, Painting and Sculpture at Glasgow School of Art.


  • Somerville Shanks Prize for Composition
  • Newbery Medal for Distinction
  • Post-graduate Scholarship
  • Keith Award – Royal Scottish Academy

1953 First visit to Paris

1956 Elected Member of Glasgow Art Club

1957 Painting trip to Toledo and Madrid

1958 Tour of France; visiting Rouen, Royan, Bordeaux, Bayonne, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Saint-Lizier, Nimes, Arles, Avignon, Annecy, Reims.

1959 First visit to Brittany

1962 Marries Marie-Renee Dorval

1962 First of annual painting trips to Loctudy

1970 Elected Member of Royal Society of Portrait Painters

1988 Completed portrait of the Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay of Clashfern

1993 Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, for the Caledonia Club, London

1993 Posthumous portrait of The 14th Duke of Hamilton

2003 Portrait of the 15th Duke and Duchess of Hamilton

2004 Died at his home in Glasgow, March 9th.



The Royal Glasgow Institute of The Fine Arts

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