The highly stylised line engravings of William Wilson are fast becoming the most sought-after Scottish prints of the period. Born in Edinburgh, William Wilson was working as an apprentice at the stained-glass firm of James Ballantyne & Son when he began attending evening classes at Edinburgh College of Art, and it was here that he first acquired the techniques of printmaking.
In 1932, William Wilson's firm allowed him to study at the College of Art full-time. He became friends with the etcher and engraver Ian Fleming, who passed on aspects of the knowledge of printmaking which he had acquired under Charles Murray. Awards soon followed, including a scholarship which allowed him to study engraving at the Royal College of Art in London. In 1935, whilst in London, William Wilson met Edgar Holloway and in early 1936 the two men rented a cottage together in Essex, where they installed a printing press. Wilson and Holloway travelled together in Europe often over the next two years, but in 1937 William Wilson returned to Edinburgh where he opened his own stained glass studio. William Wilson now relinquished the art of original printmaking, which was no longer proving renumerative, turning all of his attentions to his new business – he was to become the leading exponent of contemporary stained-glass in Britain.