A new book detailing the family history of the great British artist and Fermanagh native William Scott is to be launched in Enniskillen this month.

Entitled, ‘William Scott: A Family History’, the book – which is a comprehensive guide to the Scott family – is written by William Scott’s nephew, Cardwell McClure, and provides a first-hand experience of the family’s trials through poverty, tragedy, war and fame.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, Cardwell – who is the son of Mary McClure, née Scott, the younger sister of the renowned artist – remembers how his mother told him that William, when a teenager, would get her to sit for him, lacking any other willing members of the family.

“My mother was William Scott’s first sitter, as far as art was concerned. Whenever they lived in Enniskillen, she was the youngest girl, and he bullied her into sitting at tables or on chairs while he drew her,” said Cardwell, noting that some of William Scott’s most famous paintings are of girls sitting at tables or on chairs.

“David Bowie, the iconic singer, he had a number of William Scott paintings and when he died, the paintings were sold, and there was one in particular of a girl sitting at a table which he had bought years prior for £45,000, which sold for over £377,000,” he added.

Cardwell went on to explain that William Scott was one of 11 children born to Agnes Brown Scott (née Murray) and William John Scott.

In the book, there are 12 chapters, 11 of which are devoted to each child, while the first chapter outlines the family beginnings in Glasgow, Scotland.

Some 14 years after her marriage to William John Scott, Agnes – with her first nine children – caught the steamship from Greenock in June, 1924, to rejoin her husband in Enniskillen, the town where he had grown up.

The family stayed at first at Forthill Road with William John’s father, John Scott, a cabinetmaker.

William found work through many of his old schoolfriends, painting and decorating their shops and houses.

“He actually did work in the The Impartial Reporter when the Trimbles owned it,” noted Cardwell.

Chapters two to five tell the stories of the four eldest children, Cathie, Nancy, William and Greta, as they grew up and left home in search of work, while chapters six to 12 follow the seven younger children, Charlie, Mary (Cardwell’s mother), Hugh, Bertie, Alec, Walter and Violet, the baby.

Cardwell was named after his grandmother’s second husband, William Hobson Cardwell, whom she had married in 1941 many years after the tragic death of her first husband, William John Scott, who was killed in a tragic fire that broke out in the Hollow in Enniskillen.

He fell from a faulty ladder while trying to rescue a mother and child caught in the fire. He died of concussion on November 4, 1927.

Born in his grandmother’s first hotel, the ‘Scotts’ in East Bridge Street, Cardwell stayed regularly in her second hotel, the ‘Western’ in Darling Street, Enniskillen.

“When I first arrived at the hotel, there were all these paintings about the place, and I wondered who painted them but as I grew up and got older, my grandmother told me that they were painted by her son, William.

“In those days, he wasn’t a recognised artist, but his paintings are now very highly sought after. One was sold a few years back at over £1 million,” said Cardwell.

Growing up in close proximity to his grandmother, Cardwell became familiar with her stories of the large family that he was a part of, a family with origins traced back to 1802.

His interest in these stories led him to write, ‘William Scott: A Family History’.

The book will be officially launched at Enniskillen Castle Museums on Saturday, April 22 at 11am.

“In the book there are some wonderful stories about Enniskillen and some wonderful characters who have all passed on that would be of great interest to the people of Enniskillen,” Cardwell told this newspaper.