New portrait honours service of former University Chancellor

A new portrait of Lord Wilson of Tillyorn, commissioned by the University of Aberdeen to honour his long-standing service as Chancellor, has now been unveiled.

Guests attending a reception in the University’s Linklater Rooms on Friday 4 July enjoyed the first viewing of the likeness by leading Scottish portrait artist Guy Kinder.

As guest of honour, Lord Wilson expressed his delight with the portrait and his deep affection for the University and its community.

“I feel privileged to have held the office of Chancellor over an important period of transformation for the University,” said the former diplomat. “This was a period during which student numbers increased significantly, leading academics came to the University from across the world, and ambitious investment was made in campus facilities – which continues over the coming decade.

“It was an honour to have represented the University on the national and international stage, and I cherish many fond memories and many lifelong friends.”

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, the University’s Principal and Vice Chancellor, paid tribute to Lord Wilson’s outstanding contribution to the University, saying:  “Lord Wilson brought great dignity, wit and wisdom to his role as Chancellor. He was not only a greatly respected figure within the University family, he was - and continues to be - a wonderful ambassador for the University on the world stage.”

Speaking about his creative approach, Edinburgh-based artist Guy Kinder said: “Lord Wilson has enjoyed a long and distinguished career and it was a great honour to be commissioned to paint his portrait.  His roles as Governor of Hong Kong and as Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen are represented in the painting through the Chinese lamp and paintings in the background, as well as the Chancellor’s gown, casually draped across the back of a chair.

“My aim was to capture Lord Wilson’s relaxed, calm and dignified demeanour, and it was a huge pleasure to spend time in his company.”

David Wilson achieved international distinction in a broad range of fields. He served as 27th and penultimate Governor of Hong Kong from 1987-1992, prior to being elected the tenth Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen in 1997.  

Since retiring from Public Service he has been Chairman of Scottish Hydro-Electric (later Scottish and Southern Energy) and President of The Royal Society of Edinburgh.

 As Chancellor, Lord Wilson conferred more than 16,000 degrees on graduating students, ‘capping’ his final graduates in November 2012 prior to stepping down from his role at the end of the year.

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Rothesay was installed as the eleventh Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen in June 2013.




David Wilson (Lord Wilson of Tillyorn) was educated at Glenalmond College and did his National Service in The Black Watch.  After Oxford he joined the Foreign Service, studied Chinese at the University of Hong Kong and served in Peking (1963-1965) and on the China Desk in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He resigned from the Foreign Service in 1968 and became Editor of the China Quarterly, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, from 1968-74, during which time he completed a PhD relating to a period of modern Chinese history. After re-joining the Foreign Service he served first in the Cabinet Office and then as Political Adviser to the Governor of Hong Kong (1977-81). He was later Assistant Under-Secretary of State at the FCO for Asia – Pacific and then, from 1987-1992, Governor of Hong Kong. On retirement from Public Service he became Chairman of Scottish Hydro-Electric (later Scottish and Southern Energy) from 1993-2000. For eight years he was a member of the Board of the British Council and Chairman of the Scottish Committee. From 1992-2002 he was Chairman of the Trustees of the National Museums of Scotland and he has been a Trustee of the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland since 2000. He has been a Fellow of the RSE since 2000, and President from 2008-2011. Lord Wilson was Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge, from 2002-2008 and in 2010-2011 served as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of The Church of Scotland.

Lord Wilson holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Sydney, Hong Kong, Abertay Dundee and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and is an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford, and Peterhouse, Cambridge. His hobbies include hill walking, theatre and reading.  


Guy Kinder was born in 1960, and studied drawing and painting at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, between 1978 and 1982, under eminent Scottish artists, including: Alberto Morrocco OBE, RSA, David McClure RSA and Jack Knox RSA.

Shortly after graduating, one of Guy Kinder's first commissions was from the then Secretary of State for Scotland, George Younger, to paint a portrait of his father, Viscount Younger III of Leckie.  In 1983 Guy took up a post in the World Heritage Village of New Lanark, teaching youngsters on the Youth Training Scheme in art, graphic design and photography, as well as running adult evening tuition courses in drawing and painting. From 1986 to 2002 he ran a successful commercial gallery and art supplies business, before moving with his family to Edinburgh to pursue a career as an award winning corporate film producer. 

Guy Kinder has continually painted throughout his varied career, exhibiting in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee.  He now paints full-time from his Edinburgh studio, specialising in portraiture.  Guy has works in private and public collections, including The Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the University of the West of Scotland.  In addition to Lord Wilson, notable portrait sitters include Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin OBE and Dr Olivia Giles OBE.