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Issue 106 - An Unsung Hero

Whisky Magazine Issue 106
September 2012

 

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An Unsung Hero

The Scotch whisky industry is blessed with so many high-profile and larger-than-life characters that it is all too easy to overlook the important contributions made in various areas of the business by the quiet men of whisky, who do not seek the limelight or boast of their accomplishments.

A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions - Confucius

The Scotch whisky industry is blessed with so many high-profile and larger-than-life characters that it is all too easy to overlook the important contributions made in various areas of the business by the quiet men of whisky, who do not seek the limelight or boast of their accomplishments.

One such man was Jim Drysdale, a multi-talented artist whose work across a wide range of brands will be recognised by everyone who reads this magazine, but whose name will be known to very few. Jim died in June, aged 73, having worked for East Kilbride-based Glencairn Crystal Studio Ltd since its inception in 1981, resolutely refusing to retire or even cut back on his workload until a few months before his death.

Born in 1939 and raised in the Govanhill area of Glasgow, Jim Drysdale attended Glasgow School of Art, before finding employment with Glasgow box manufacturer John Horn. Ultimately, he became the head of their art department before setting up as a freelance artist.

Raymond Davidson, founder and managing director of Glencairn Crystal recalls: “By the time I decided to open my first factory almost all of Jim's commissions were for me and Glencairn Crystal, so Jim joined me as my sole employee on my first day in 1981.

“He was an outstanding artist, capable of any task from oil paintings of still life, portraits, landscapes; all manner of design work including labels and cartons for the whisky indus...

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