Art collection valued at £1.8m donated to Scotland’s museums from late professor

Professor Henry Walton, who died in July. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Professor Henry Walton, who died in July. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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AN ART loving professor who was known across the globe for his work in psychiatry has left a substantial amount of a £5.2 million fortune to the nation’s art museums.

• Professor with extensive art collection donates majority of collection to Scottish art museums

• Collection, which includes ancient Chinese pottery as well as paintings by Picasso and Rembrandt, has estimated worth of £1.8 million

Henry Walton was a world-renowned psychiatrist and art collector. He died in July aged 88 having amassed a massive private collection with his late wife, the renowned child psychiatrist Sula Walton. Their collection ranged from early Chinese pottery to Picasso and Rembrandt prints.

Mrs Walton died aged 85 in September 2009. The Waltons were well known in Edinburgh and further afield and regularly hosted parties at their home in the capital.

The walls of their home boasted 300 paintings with most later given to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art for display.

But Prof Walton’s published will has now revealed the extent of the couple’s generosity to art and cultural institutions in Scotland.

He left orders for a trust fund to be set up to support and buy works of art for the Scottish National Museum of Modern Art in Edinburgh. He has asked that the first purchase must be acknowledged as having being gifted from himself and his wife.

The Royal Museum of Scotland has also been allowed to choose any items of the Walton’s African or Oriental art works to hold on display.

And the National Gallery has been gifted any art works in the collection that was made before 1900.

The Waltons total estate was valued at £5,277,764,.42 and included a large stocks and shares portfolio worth more than £2.1 million.

Their expansive art collection - which boasted a £200,000 Picasso and works by Paul Cezanne, George Braque, and David Hockney - was valued at over £1.8 million.

Their investments included £58,000 in Scots firm Aggreko and £75,000 in drinks giants Diageo.

Born in South Africa, Prof Walton studied medicine at the University of Cape Town, where he spent the holidays painting and considering which road to take.

Medicine won and he qualified in 1945, later training in neurology and psychiatry before being invited to the UK as a senior registrar at the Maudsley

Hospital in London in the mid-1950s. There he met Dr Sula Wolff and the couple married in 1957.

That year he returned to South Africa, as head of Cape Town University’s department of psychiatry, but by 1962 was a senior lecturer in psychiatry at

Edinburgh University where he became professor until 1985.

In 1986 he was appointed professor of international medical education by Edinburgh University and travelled the world lecturing, presiding at medical

education conferences and working closely with bodies including the World Health Organisation, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural

Organisation and the World Bank.

He was a founder of the UK’s Society for Research in Higher Education and chaired its council in the 1970s.

Widely honoured for his work in medical education, he held honorary doctorates from numerous universities, edited the journal Medical Education for many years, wrote or co-authored various reports and books including the best-selling paperback Alcoholism.

Prof Walton became a driving force behind Paintings in Hospitals Scotland, now Art in Healthcare, and was the founding chairman of Art and Disability


At one time he had a huge collection of Japanese pieces, other works included those by Picasso, Goya, Rembrandt and Hockney, African and Oceanic sculpture and Oriental ceramics.

Last night a spokeswoman for the National Galleries of Scotland said: “The National Galleries of Scotland is delighted to be receiving a major gift from the estate of the late Professor Henry Walton.

“Following Henry Walton’s death in July of this year, the collection - which includes outstanding prints by artists such as Rembrandt, Goya, Cézanne,

Picasso and Howard Hodgkin, and paintings by Joan Eardley, Leslie Hunter and Anne Redpath - was bequeathed to the National Galleries of Scotland.

“The Galleries will also be the beneficiaries of the Henry and Sula Walton Fund.

“The charitable Trust Fund, funded principally by the residue of their estate, was set up by Professor Walton in 2011.

“The intention of the fund is to benefit the arts, through the purchase and display of works of art for the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.”