UNSEEN work by Alasdair Gray will be on display as part of a new exhibition celebrating the life and work of the Glasgow polymath, who died at the end of 2019.

Omnium Gatherum takes its title from a screenprint Gray completed in 2017, two years after a fall left him in hospital for months.

Recuperating back at home in the city’s west end, he soon restarted work on his final literary project, a translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy trilogy “decorated and Englished in prosaic verse”.

Work, no matter the form, was Gray’s lifeblood, his literary and artistic visions finding shape in novels, plays, poems, political writings, paintings, prints and murals, such as those at Oran Mor and Hillhead Subway station.

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Like Duncan Thaw, the protagonist of his semi-autobiographical 1981 masterpiece Lanark: A Life In Four Books, Gray was troubled by asthma for much of his life, with winter temperatures exacerbating the condition.


Following his death in December – the day after his 85th birthday and a month after the Saltire Society awarded him a lifetime achievement award – Gray’s personal pal Ian Rankin told the BBC how his fellow author made everyday life in Scotland compelling to readers around the world.

“He was part of that thing about taking Scotland out of the kailyard,” said the Rebus creator. “He had a sense of fun, he was mischievous, he had this huge intellect but he was a ‘lad of pairts’ – he could do a little bit of everything and he did it all well.”

Gray’s relationship with Glasgow Print Studio spans four decades, with Glasgow Print Studio Press publishing his first book The Comedy Of The White Dog in 1979. Alongside the publication of Lanark two years later, he produced a set of six printed illustrations at the studio, and he went on to make many more prints over the years there, including a series of screenprints in 2008 in which he reimagined the TS Elliot poem The Hippopotamus in Lowland Scots and images in his unique style.

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Just before his final illness, Gray had been busying himself on a new body of work for this exhibition, of which all but one were completed before he left us.

As well as previous works made at the studio, Omnium Gatherum gathers works completed from 2017 to 2019, including a new version of Bella Caledonia, a figure named after the main character of his 1992 novel Poor Things. Gray updated the character for the pro-independence website of the same name, which says plans are afoot for a celebration of his life.

February 7 to April 12 (not Mondays), Glasgow Print Studio, Trongate 103, Glasgow, 10am to 5.30pm, Sundays midday to 5pm, free. Tel: 0141 552 0704. www.glasgowprintstudio.co.uk