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Commemorative Plaques Record Details

Alberto Morrocco (1917 - 1998)

Picture of the Palque

Location : Causewayend School

Area : Central Aberdeen

Plaque Type : Yellow

About Alberto Morrocco : Artist. Born in 1917 in Aberdeen, to Italian parents, educated at Sunnybank School and Causewayend School before attending Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, 1932-38. After completing his studies he and Robert Sivell worked on murals in the University of Aberdeen’s Student Union building. Married Vera Mercer in 1941 and had two sons and one daughter. Taught, part time, at Grays from 1946. Appointed Head of Drawing and Painting at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee in 1950. His commissions included a painting of the Queen Mother. He received an OBE in 1993 and died in 1998.

More Information : Morrocco's parents were Italians who had emigrated to Scotland; his father had come at age 21 and his mother's family had moved from Southern Italy when she was three. He was born on 14 December 1917 at 35 Causewayend (now demolished). He was born in the family house, above his father's shop and cafe. He was his parent's first child. A second son, Valentino, was born some nine years later, at the same address, on 29 April 1926. It is from the shop that Alberto's technically incorrect surname derives. The name on Alberto's birth certificate, and indeed the correct family name is Marrocco. The story goes that the sign-writer who painted the sign for Alberto's father's shop had not heard the name correctly and hence misspelled it as Morrocco. Despite this mistake Alberto assumed the incorrect version of the name. Indeed Alberto thought for many years that his correct name was Morrocco and the mistake was only brought to his attention when he applied for a passport. He attended Sunnybank School and Causewayend School before being accepted, at age 14, into Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen. He attended Gray's between 1932 and 1938. At Gray's he was taught by James Cowie whose fine draughtsmanship had an impact on the young Alberto and by Robert Sivell whose interest in the Italian Renaissance had a significant and lasting impact on Alberto and his work. After completing his studies in 1938 Morrocco and Sivell worked together on murals for the Students' Union of the University of Aberdeen. In 1939, Morrocco went abroad and studied in France and Switzerland, and after military service during World War II continued his painting while also working as an illustrator. In 1941, he married fellow painter Vera Mercer. They had three children: his first son, Leon, was born in 1942; his second son, Laurie, in 1947 and his only daughter, Anna Lisa, in 1960. In 1946 Alberto returned to Gray's to teach part time. Between 1947 and 1949 he collaborated with a number of colleagues at Gray's on preparing illustrations for the volume Anatomy of the Human Body. He was a founder member of the 47 Group of Artists who exhibited their work annually at Aberdeen Art Gallery between 1947 and 1950. In 1950 Alberto was appointed Head of Drawing and Painting at Duncan of Jordanstone College of art in Dundee, which position he held for some thirty years. Alberto was elected an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1951 and made a full member in 1962. In 1993 he was awarded the OBE in recognition of his achievements. He died on 10 March 1998 and was survived by his wife, herself an accomplished painter. His reputation has always been good and for many years he was widely regarded as the best known Scottish portrait painter. His more famous sitters included the Queen Mother, the President of Iceland (Assgeir Assgeirson) and Lord Boyd Orr. His paintings featured regularly in the Royal Scottish academy's summer exhibitions, as well as at those of the Royal Glasgow Institute. His work continues to be admired widely and his reputation is as strong as ever. His work is retained in a number of permanent collections including those at the city art galleries of Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Perth and in that of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Other members of the Morrocco family, including his son, Leon, as well as his nephew, Jack Morrocco, are also successful artists.