Ronald Grierson was born in 1901, and studied at Hammersmith School of Art, then at the Grovesnor School of Modern Art, under Iain Macnab, the prominent Scottish painter and wood-engraver. The clear-cut nature of Macnab’s lines can be seen as an influence on Grierson, whose own still lifes are carefully and elegantly composed.

 

In 1930, Grierson married Enid Martin, his fellow student. Taking inspiration from Edward McKnight Kauffer, the two taught themselves to weave, a skill that led Grierson to find freelance work with a great number of firms, including the Old Bleach Linen Co. Ltd., Liberty & Co., Heal & Son Ltd, and the Wilton Royal Carpet Factory. In 1936, he had an exhibition of his carpet designs at the Redfern Gallery. The Redfern Publishing Co. Ltd. also sold his handwoven rugs. His wife worked with him on his designs, and they undertook commissions for many important patrons, including the Queen Mother, and for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s own permanent collection.

 

Throughout the 1930s, Grierson continued to paint, on canvas as well as on glass, the latter influenced by Georges Braque. His still life linocuts have an almost Surrealist quality in terms of their composition, using the same objects as key artists involved in this movement—shells, neoclassical instruments and statues. At times, they approach something like the still lifes of John Banting, Leon Underwood or even Paul Nash.

 

Grierson also worked as a teacher, initially at Camberwell School of Art from 1946-49, then at Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute from 1949-77. As well as this, he became a member of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. In his later years, Grierson's work was featured in the Hayward Gallery’s 1979 exhibition, Thirties: British Art and Design Before the War. He died in 1993.

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