Andrew Hillhouse

Born in April 1964, I qualified as an architectural technician twenty years later. Whilst working for various architectural private practices, local authorities and government bodies, I learned to produce highly detailed architectural drawings, perspectives and presentation work, ultimately “ghosting” for Edinburgh’s top perspective artists. Currently, I have worked as a technician at the Edinburgh College of Art for over twenty years. Through all this, and whilst playing guitar in various rock/blues bands, I have always made time to indulge in two of my many hobbies; art and Scottish history. Fascinated since youth by epic tales of Scottish heroes, I finally combined my interest in historical research with my experience in the production of detailed architectural drafting to produce authentic period reconstructions of individuals, events, equipment and landscapes.

My early images of William Wallace were initially used to promote the activities of some charitable Trusts. More recently, they have graced the covers of books, magazines, CD and DVD covers. Some have appeared on television documentaries and news items and my “Execution of Wallace” piece was featured in a documentary included on the US Sapphire Series Blu-Ray release of “Braveheart”. Three of my reconstructions of the Wallace period are on permanent display at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum and a further two pieces were incorporated into their "Bannockburn 2014" exhibition. Some of my work began to appear on various internet sites and helped to raise the awareness and preservation of historical sites in Scotland. This exposure led to further book illustration work, covering a range of eras and I briefly became the official artist to Jonah Lomu, the New Zealand “All Black” rugby legend.

I worked with the late Scottish author and historian David Ross who encouraged me to continue with my work at a time when I had lost all confidence in it. He used many of my pieces as cover and internal illustrations for his books on Scottish history. This new found confidence led to me giving public talks on research and art production related to the Scottish Wars of Independence. I subsequently produced many pieces for the Society of William Wallace, including a design for a sculptural memorial to Wallace which now stands proudly in the Necropolis, Glasgow and a memorial plaque to Wallace, erected in London. I was honoured indeed to be invited by the First Minister of Scotland to Stirling Castle to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the death of Sir William Wallace in recognition of this work.

More recently, I have been commissioned by the Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Heritage Trust to paint several large images of the said battle. Having grown up in Prestonpans, I was delighted to have produced these pieces, the main purpose of which was to attempt to raise local awareness of some of the lesser known aspects of the battle, the first major encounter of the 1745 uprising.

To this day, I don't consider myself a real artist, I’m still just a guy who likes to doodle in his spare time. I have a full time job that pays the bills and I'm happy to get the odd commission but I’m not sure I could ever make a living from it. And I think that’s probably the way I like it. Right now, I only do artwork that intrigues me. I feel that, if I was doing this as a full time job, working on things that may not interest me, I could get very bored very easily. I’m just thankful that some people seem to like some of my work. Over the years, I have often been urged to organise and sell prints but have, somehow, never managed to get round to it, preferring to spend my time simply drawing. Well, I’ve finally done it, my first attempt at selling work, and through my own website, no less!

Whether or not you buy any of the work featured, I do hope you enjoy looking through the pieces. Hopefully, you may even feel some of the empathy and intrigue I feel for the events and characters portrayed.