(John Ronald Craigie Aitchison)
Born 1926, Edinburgh, Scotland. Died 2009
Craigie Aitchison grew up in Scotland and initially trained as a lawyer, studying law at Edinburgh University (1944-46) and Middle Temple in London (1948). However, he soon decided on a change of career and became a student at the Slade School of Fine Arts from 1952-54; he was awarded a British Council and Italian Government scholarship in 1955 to study in Italy where he imbibed the influence of early Renaissance painters such as Piero della Francesca. His subsequent work reflected the light and colour of Italy as well as religious themes in a recognisable personal style characterised by simplified forms, pure colour and an innocent, visionary quality.
His exhibiting career began in the 'Six Young Contemporaries' show at Gimpel Fils gallery in London in 1954 and five years later he had his first solo exhibition at the Beaux Arts Gallery. He was subsequently to have regular representation in many galleries throughout the UK. Aitchison was given an Arts Council retrospective exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in 1981 and was elected a Royal Academician in 1988. Further awards included the Jerwood Painting Prize in 1994 and the CBE for services to British painting in 1999. A major retrospective of his work was mounted at the Royal Academy in 2003.