Collection GW - Interviews with George Wyllie for the National Life Stories project, Artists' Lives

Identity area

Reference code

GB 249 GW


Interviews with George Wyllie for the National Life Stories project, Artists' Lives


  • 2003 - 2004 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 volume + 1 CD containing 24 MP3 files (641 MB)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

George Wyllie was born in Glasgow in 1921. Initially a sailor and then a customs officer, he rapidly acquired a national and international reputation as an artist and sculptor, working in regenerative, performance and public art. The underlying principle of his work was that art can change ideas and is an essential force in society. There was always a question at the heart of his work. He called his art Scul?ture.

Wyllie exhibited widely in the United Kingdom, Europe, India and the United States. His best known works are ‘The Straw Locomotive,’ ‘The Paper Boat,’ ‘A Day Down a Goldmine’, ‘Equilibrium of Spires’ and ‘The Cosmic Voyage.’ He also worked in theatre, writing, installations and film. He lived and worked in Gourock, Scotland.

Wyllie had a long association with the University of Strathclyde, staging his first ever solo exhibition in the University’s Collins Gallery in 1976. In April 1990, the University awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.

In 2005, he was awarded an MBE for service to the Arts. He died in 2012.

Name of creator

(fl. 2004)

Biographical history

Jenny Simmons worked as a freelance oral history interviewer for two National Life Stories projects: Artist's Lives and Book Trade Lives.

Name of creator

(1987 to date)

Administrative history

National Life Stories (formerly the National Life Stories Collection) is an independent charitable trust within the British Library. It was established in 1987 to record, preserve and make available the first-hand experiences of people from as wide a cross-section of modern-day society as possible.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Recordings and full transcripts of 6 interviews conducted with Wyllie by freelance oral history interviewer Jenny Simmons between 10 December 2003 and 15 March 2004. The interviews follow a 'life story' format, covering Wyllie's family background, childhood, education, work, leisure and later life.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


None expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

No access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright of the British Library.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

    Language and script notes

    Physical characteristics and technical requirements

    Finding aids

    Allied materials area

    Existence and location of originals

    The original recordings and transcripts are located in the British Library Sound Archive, references C466/185 and F18599-18611.

    Existence and location of copies

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