Neil Dallas Brown (1938-2003)

My friend Nina Allan has finally started her own website (check it out:, and in the process inadvertently reminded me of one of my stated objectives when I started this blog: to mention artists, writers, and poets etc, whose work I feel has so far been unjustly neglected by the mainstream and deserves more attention. Probably because I didn’t think anyone was reading this (and they probably still aren’t!), I seem to have fallen badly behind in this noble aim. Last year I quoted here a superb poem by A S J Tessimond, and called for a new book to collect his under-read output, and Bloodaxe Books have now released just such a book. More of that in a later post, but for the meantime, I’ll see if I can repeat the magic spell by calling for a new breakthrough: let’s have a Monograph and major retrospective exhibition of the work of the great late Scottish artist Neil Dallas Brown. I see a Trust has been set up in Fife to commemorate his life and loan his paintings to major galleries, and that a new gallery in Dundee has some of his work on show:
I remember Neil Dallas Brown looking right through me and into my soul one morning in the canteen queue at Glasgow School of Art, presumably noticing my resemblance to my brother Ally, whom he had taught and knew well. It’s a curious and haunting memory for me, of briefly crossing paths with a soul who trod the kind of non-fashion-driven path through the world, that I always admire.

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9 Responses to Neil Dallas Brown (1938-2003)

  1. Roger gajadhar says:

    Very interesting. I think his work is amazing.


    • Yes, unjustly unfashionable, but his paintings are in private collections all over the world, just not yet collated in a book or exhibition. Scotland specialises in this kind of neglect of its own culture. Stay tuned…. I have several other artists like this to tell you about over coming months.

  2. Clare says:

    I had a great experience with neil too,he asked me my name when a student at gsa and he told me with a name like that id go far,,,I did travel a bit but I never forgot him and his genuine interest and careful thought ,I interviewed him for my dissertation and he hand wrote the answers in beautiful scroll,I now run an art gallery and would love to hold the exhibition you wish for.
    Clare Gallas Crines (the gallas is in tribute to Neil, his friend and colleague Stuart Mackenzie thinks he would find it amusing)

  3. Your anecdote captures him hauntingly well and I’m glad to see people still moved by Neil’s work. He was my mother’s partner for the last couple of decades of his life and she has finally constructed this website about his work:

  4. gordon says:

    I was a friend on Neil, not connected with art world and fairly naive about buying and selling atr works. As a frequent visitor to his house in Cellerdyke I saw bits and prices of his work that he had around. I absolutely reget not sticking a bit of money in his hands for the ones he said he might sell. Any ideas on where to get prints of Neil’s work? Or his later sculpture stuff. ( beautiful ) .

  5. Pingback: Poem #46/52 | Douglas Thompson's Blog

  6. pennyjukebox says:

    Neil was 3 years younger than me, and we first met at Dundee College of Art (pre-Duncan of Jordanstone) in Bell Street, Dundee. He was a good-humoured lad – which is just as well, as our lot were somewhat batty. Correction – COMPLETELY batty! Well, we were reared on ‘The Goon Show’.

    If you would like to see a very brief clip of Neil the musician with Dennis Buchan, look here – – a rather flickery film I shot in 1957. Some good background music, but if you don’t want to suffer the entire flicker, Neil and Dennis are at 2:36. The day I remember well – quite a few art college colleagues are featured, but I can’t recall shooting that little indoor clip. The sadistic guillotine operator at 3:56 – with tin hat – is Fraser Elder, famous sports columnist! The device was genuinely dangerous, as that hammer was the only thing preventing the heavy wooden ‘blade’ from decapitating poor George Brown. The cutie is Jackie.

    Neil gave me a gift of a large painting titled “Sun Dance” from his college days, in a style which bears no resemblance to his later work. It was rather ‘tired’ even then, but has suffered rather a bit due to various flittings, so I photographed it and ‘cured’ the scratches via my PC.

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