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Banks, Ann Robin

Ann Robin Banks (1931-2005) was born in 1931, the younger daughter of Rod Banks, an English engineer, and Con Langlands, whose parents came from the West Coast of Scotland. Her long association with Scotland began with holiday visits to Arran, where her grandparents always spent their summers in Lochranza.


Having spent her youth in London, she returned to live in Arran in 1974, restoring a farmhouse at High Glencloy, where she also created a studio.


Ann never had any formal training, going straight from school to work. Although she began life as a photographer, working first in the studio of the 1950s society photographer Baron, and subsequently with her contemporary Anthony Armstrong Jones, over time her interest in the flat surface morphed and she began to create murals and dishes using glass fused onto copper through enamelling. In order to master the tricky technical aspects of enamelling she worked in an industrial enamelling factory for a year before hiring a workshop and buying a kiln for her own work. She worked on these – often huge – projects over many years until the prohibitive price of materials made enamelling a much more difficult art form to pursue. The designer Eileen Gray was an admirer, and in enamel, Ann had really found her medium. While working in London she had made murals in collaboration with the Australian painter Sidney Nolan and several large commissions for banks and individuals. 


On Arran, although she still maintained two kilns, one for larger pieces and one for dishes and smaller works, she concentrated mainly on the smaller pieces, which were sold in a variety of venues in Edinburgh and London. One of her large enamel dishes was presented to the Princess Royal during a visit to Arran in the 1970s.


She lived at High Glencloy for over 30 years, continuing to work there up to a year or two before her death in 2007.



References:

  • Ann Banks family

  • Sophie Collins