Born in Kersey, Suffolk 1938
Moved to Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire 1940
Swansea College of Art 1955 - 57
Royal College of Art 1957 - 60

After completing his formal training William Wilkins taught and painted for seven years before making a radical change of direction in the late 60's. At this point he abandoned the abstract work on which he had been engaged and embarked on a rigorous regime of drawing, figure, still life and landscape, which lasted for five years. All the work done at this period used an exclusively cross-hatch technique.

William Wilkins

He started painting again in 1974, developing a pointillist technique that is not dependent on Post-Impressionist colour theories, and concentrating entirely on work of a personal scale.

Early work tends to be concerned with tone and colour and frequently employs many layers of paint. Subsequently his work has developed much more interest in luminosity and opacity and there is seldom more than one layer of paint on the canvas. No preliminary drawing is done on the canvas and there is no underpainting.

Paintings have taken anything up to thirteen years to complete, depending on the light, seasons and interruptions. All are worked on from the subject, in the correct light and, in the case of landscapes, at the same season and the same time of day. William Wilkins lives and works in Wales, but for the past thirty years he has also worked in Venice where, apart from the intrinsic appeal, the challenge of working between the Scylla (the great models of Turner and Monet) and Charybdis (the millions of banal representations) has been stimulating.

His other interests include most forms of contemporary art together with architecture and landscape, both contemporary and historic.

One-Man Exhibitions

University College of Wales, Aberystwyth 1970
University College, Cardiff 1971
Covent Garden Gallery, London 1972
Welsh Arts, Council, Cardiff 1972
British Institute, Warsaw 1973
Langton Gallery, London 1975
University College, Swansea 1975
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York 1977
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York 1979
Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York 1981
12 Duke Street Gallery, London 1983
Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York 1984
Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York 1985
Helander Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida 1986
John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco 1987
Albemarle Gallery, London 1988
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea 1989
Piccadilly Gallery, London 1991
Maxwell Davidson Gallery, New York 1994
Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff 2000
Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff 2004
Piccadilly Gallery, London 2006
National Botanic Garden of Wales 2007
Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff 2008
50 Albemarle Street, London 2011
Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff 2011
Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff 2014
Erskine, Hall & Coe, London 2014
Erskine, Hall & Coe (with Yasuhisa Kohyama), London 2017
Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff 2018
Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff 2022
'Preview', The Fine Art Society, London 2022
Allusion and Luminosity. A Retrospective Exhibition at Aberglasney Gardens, 2024

Group Exhibitions

Covent Garden Gallery, London 1973
Agnews, London - summer and winter exhibitions 1974
Roland, Browse, Delbanco, London 1974
Member of 56 Group Wales Exhibitions in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Italy and Czechoslovakia 1975 - 98
Allan Stone Gallery, New York 1976
Welsh Arts Council, Cardiff, 'The Probity of Art' 1976
Leinster Gallery, London, 'Critics Choice' 1985
'Painting in Wales: 1850-1980', Andrew Knight Gallery, Cardiff 1985
'Intimate and Intense - The New Genre of Painting', Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Bethlehem, Penna 1986
Gruenebaum Gallery, New York 1987
'The Self-Portrait: A Modern View', Artsite, Bath and elsewhere 1987-88
Joanna Bird, London 2019
'Preview', The Fine Art Society, London 2022


Welsh Arts Council Bursary 1971
Welsh Arts Council Grant 1978
First International Artist in Residence, Artists for the Environment Foundation, Delaware Water Gap National Park, New Jersey, U.S.A. 1980
Ingram Merrill Foundation Award 1980
Royal Cambrian Academician 1993
Honorary Fellow, Royal Institute of British Architects 2001
Honorary Fellow, Trinity College Carmarthen 2001
Honorary Fellow, Swansea Metropolitan University 2002
Honorary Fellow, UWIC 2003
Chancellor's Medal, University of Glamorgan 2003
CBE for services to the environment 2003
Honorary Fellow, Cardiff University 2007

Allusion and Luminosity. A Retrospective Exhibition at Aberglasney Gardens, 2024

Public Collections

National Museum of Wales
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC
Welsh Arts Council, Cardiff
University College of Wales, Aberystwyth
University College, Swansea
Contemporary Arts Society of Wales
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea

Private Collections

Britain, USA, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Australia, Canada and France

Selected Bibliography

Hilton Kramer, 'New British Painter Dazzles', The New York Times, 28.10.77.
Gerrit Henry, Art News, January 1978.
Hilton Kramer, 'The Work of William Wilkins - Miniaturist of Light', The New York Times, 19.10.79.
Elizabeth Dipple, 'The Work of William Wilkins', Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, 1981.
Hilton Kramer, The New York Times, 9.10.81.
John Russell Taylor, The Times, 24.05.83.
Eric Rowan, 'Painting in Wales 1850-1980', University of Wales Press.
Rosalind Roberts, 'Radiating the Otherness', Status, April 1987.
Charles Jencks, 'The Classical Sensibility', Art and Design, August 1987.
Sean Kelly/Edward Lucie-Smith, 'The Self-Portrait - A Modern View', Serena Press 1987.
Charles Jencks, 'Post Modernism', Academy Editions, 1988.
Marina Vaizey, Critics Choice, The Sunday Times, 31.01.88.
William Wilkins, 'The True Expression of the Subject', Art and Design, June 1988.
Edward Lucie-Smith, 'Themes and Variations', Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, 1989.
John Petts, 'The New Wales' 1991.
David Fraser Jenkins, 'Presence and Absence', Martin Tinney Gallery 2011.
David Fraser Jenkins, 'William Wilkins', Graffeg, 2014