Burns with Wilson Burns with Brown
The Burns murals of Ted & Elizabeth Odling

A stunning legacy by artists known also for their scenes of the west coast of Scotland

The artists 1 min read

Henry Edward ('Ted') Odling (1921-2007) and Elizabeth Jamieson (1924-2003) met at the Glasgow School of Art in 1949, married in 1952, and lived and worked on the west coast of Scotland throughout their long careers as artists. In 2011, their three children, Noelle, Christopher and Nicholas published "Ted and Elizabeth Odling, Artists of the West of Scotland", a lovingly-told and lavishy-illustrated homage (ISBN 978-0-9558690-7-5, 96 pp.).

Ted was a landscape painter, in watercolours, oils and pastels. He was also keenly interested in science and technology and combined his artistic background with advances in optics, photography, film and music. Elizabeth won the Newbery Medal as top student of her year at GSA in 1945 and her work is marked by a close attention to detail. They left behind them a large body of highly varied work, including paintings, drawings, prints, embroidery, patchwork quilts, sculptures and musical instruments.

Throughout their careers, Ted and Elizabeth often worked as a team, for example, producing murals for Irvine Burns Club in 1965 (see below), for the visitors' centre at Culzean in 1972-73, for the Burns Museum at Alloway in 1983-86 (now displayed at Irvine Burns Club, see below), and (sadly no longer in existence) for Chatelherault (near Glasgow) in 1986-87. In 1981, they moved to Lismore on Argyll where they spent 25 years working as freelance artists.

'Burns in Irvine' - the Burns Room murals

These 1965 murals cleverly disguise the room's corners and include a false door and shelf - so realistic that one visiting dignitary at the opening was seen trying to put his glass down on the false shelf. Ted Odling was appointed an Honorary Member of Irvine Burns Club in 1967. As a result of the success of these murals, Ted and Elizabeth were commissioned to take part in the refurbishment of the Burns Museum at Alloway (see below).

Glasgow Vennel

in Glasgow Vennel

Burns arranges lodgings
in Templeton's bookshop

in the bookshop

with William Templeton
Burns despairing

in his lodgings

ill and pessimistic
David Sillar

he enjoyed the music

of his friend David Sillar
at Irvine harbour

at Irvine harbour

with Richard Brown
in Eglinton Woods

in Eglinton Woods

with Richard  Brown
Hogmanay fire

at Hogmanay

Heckling Shop fire
Burns the poet

on leaving Irvine

Burns the poet

the Alloway murals

Alloway mural

the Alloway murals - in the Wilson Room

Ted & Elizabeth Odling painted these murals in 1983-86 for the refurbishment of the Museum at Burns Cottage in Alloway, but a later refurbishment made them surplus, so they were 'rescued' by Irvine Burns Club.

with Wilson

arranging printing

with John Wilson

poems into print

on the printing press
Nellie Kilpatrick

aged 15 in 1774

with Nellie Kilpatrick
Burns reciting

in Edinburgh

as the 'ploughman poet'

at Ellisland

composing 'Tam o' Shanter'
the mouse

the farmer

addresses the mouse
Scots Musical Museum

collecting songs

for the 'Scots Musical Museum'

of James Johnson

in Edinburgh

  • Wellwood Burns Centre & Museum
  • 28 Eglinton Street,
  • Irvine, Ayrshire, KA12 8AS