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James Lyle - Former PT Art                                                                            

I'm in the process of researching my family history and understand that my grandfather's twin brother JAMES LYLE, 8 Wallace Street, Kilmarnock was a one time Principal Art teacher at the Academy. He died on 28th February 1955, so his tenure would be prior to this. James Lyle was apparently instrumental in the development of Robert Colquhoun's artistic talents. (I note he is one of your famous former pupils). Any additional history you may have regarding James Lyle - even some form of obituary - would be of great interest, and ultimately any photographs of James Lyle would be the icing on the cake.

Best Regards, John Lyle.

DR DICKSON'S REPLY

Dear John Lyle,
 
Many thanks for your email. Yes, James Lyle was indeed a very influential art teacher at KA in the first half of the twentieth century. It was he who designed the school coat of arms in the 1940s and in addition he wrote and illustrated the manuscript roll of honour for those former pupils who were killed in WW2. The fine brush work on the latter is very beautiful (it can be viewed in the school - but an image of it is also on our website under WW2 pupil obituaries). He taught in the Old Technical building which had a handsome set of art rooms, and recently when the building was being converted into residential flats a mural that James Lyle painted on the wall to illustrate fresco technique came to light. There was some correspondence in the Kilmarnock Standard about it and the mural was reproduced. I believe his daughter is still alive and living in the town, for she took part in the correspondence. I know she also had some of his original art work of his, for the Dick Institute, the local library and museum, had his design for the school badge on display in 1998 which had been loaned by her.
 
I am copying this email to our school librarian and archivist as he may be able to find more about James Lyle in the Goldberry, the former school magazine. There may well have been an obituary and photograph when he died in 1955. We certainly have staff photographs from the period in which he will feature. The other individual who may know more about him is our retired principal art teacher, Jim Wylie, who can be contacted through his website, http://jimwylie-artist.co.uk/ The Dick Institute also has a card index (now computerised I think) of the Standard, and it may supply more information. He was well-known in the town due to his long service at the Academy.
 
I trust this of some interest.
 
Neil Dickson