Oliver, George

Key Information

Type of entity

Person

Authorized form of name

Oliver, George

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Dates of existence

1920-1990

History

An art school training, with drawing as the favourtie means, plus a life-long enthusiasm for people and places, combined to make George Oliver a wide-ranging observer, not least because the pen, in time, gave way to the camera as a recording medium. Born in Birmingham but brought up in Glasgow, George was educated at Bellahouston Academy, then enrolled at Glasgow School of Art in 1938, was called up for war service in the RAF where he ended in New Delhi, mainly engaged in visual aids. Back to GSA for a Diploma in Commercial Art, he then worked for 18 months in London before becoming art editor of 'Scotland's SMT Magazine' (once Edinburgh's answer to 'The Scottish Field') and then, for much of his life as a freelance. But in between, during the later 1950s he was employed as Press and Publicity Officer for the Council of Industrial Design in Glasgow. George also suggested, organised and wrote catalogues for, the very first of the SAC touring photographic exhibitions, the subjects being James Craig Annan and Robert M. Adam. The posthumous exhibition of his own work, 'The Seeing Eye', held in the Mitchell Library in 1998-99 gave some idea of the range of his output. His idol was Cartier Bresson. During the 1960s George became known to a much wider audience for a series of distinctive coffee table books generically titled 'Early Motor Cars'. Covering the veteran and vintage years, English sports cars and early racing cars, these were books of full-page profile scale drawings of specific vehicles, many of which were destined to be cut out and framed. Indeed, when he was commissioned to prepare the illustrations for a history of Citroen (published by Robert Delpire) the pages in questions were deliberately fixed in a way that made their removal an easy matter. His work as a serious historian of the motor car found an outlet in several commissions. 'A History of Coachbuilding' was published in 1962 and the much more lavish 'Cars and Coachbuilding' some ten years later. There were also serious books on Rolls Royce and Rover cars, and the long-researched history of the Scottish motor industry, 'Motor Trials and Tribulations' which was published posthumously by HMSO. In 1989 his book, 'Photographs and Local History' had been published by Batsford.

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Related entity

Oliver, Cordelia (1924-2009)

Identifier of the related entity

P270

Category of the relationship

family

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Related entity

Ritchie, Flora (fl c1950s)

Identifier of the related entity

P570

Category of the relationship

family

Type of relationship

Ritchie, Flora is the cousin of Oliver, George

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Sources

Biography of George Oliver in The George and Cordelia Archive (ref: DC 066/3/2/1/2)

Maintenance notes

Biographical History Author: Cordelia Oliver
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