Alberto Morrocco was born into an Italian family who had very much adopted Scotland as their home. His mother was 3 years old when she arrived in Aberdeen and was raised speaking Scottish and, as Alberto recalled, rarely speaking Italian to his father, who had arrived in Aberdeen in 1912.
One of my very favourite stories to tell any prospective Morrocco buyer is the fact that Alberto Morrocco was not his correct name . His father opened a shop in Aberdeen, an Ice-Creamery, but when he came to Scotland did not speak the language particularly well. So, Mr D MARROCCO, asked a sign writer to make a sign for the shop. Instead of spelling it with an "A " the sign writer spelt the name incorrectly with an "O" and the rest his history. His father accepted the sign and from then on the family name has been spelt with an "O". Alberto Morrocco had a birth certificate spelt Marrocco but as for the generations thereafter I have no idea. Leon and Jack both spell their names with the "o" but I know not if they ever formally changed the surname. Perhaps you do - I would be interested to know!
It was the mid 1960's when Morrocco's stylistic approach to still-life and his Italian subject matter began to crystallise into his recognisable style. He had become well known and elected a member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1962 and it was this that became the catalyst for him being commissioned to paint a number of murals by Sir Anthony Wheeler. Morrocco trained at the Grays School of Art in Aberdeen under James Cowie and Robert Sivell and it is perhaps the later who influenced his murals. While still a student Morrocco had assisted Robert Sivell on a large mural which is still to be found in the Students Union in Aberdeen. He went on to produce two huge murals in his own right during the mid 1960's. The first was Christ carrying the Cross for St Columba's Church in Glenrothes followed by two large murals for Liff Hospital in Dundee. In these works he was able to consolidate is work with Sivell in Aberdeen and produce his own style in a medium he had always been interested in through his link to Italian Renaissance art.
We are delighted to have two designs for murals for sale from the personal collection of Sir Anthony Wheeler , who was the commissioning Architect. One is by David McClure, a close friend of Morrocco, and was produced for the staff room at St Andrews University and the other is the original design by Alberto Morrocco, for the mural at St Columba's Church (Click Link to see the work) Both are in fantastic original condition and kept by Sir Anthony ,only becoming available when he passed away a few years ago.
In 1983 Sir Anthony Wheeler became President of the Royal Scottish Academy and, as tradition has it, his portrait was painted at the end of his term of office - in the early 1990's. So who else did he choose for this but none other than, his friend, Alberto Morrocco. He had already painted a portrait of Lord Cameron for the University of Edinburgh in 1972 but the painting of Wheeler is painted more within the style of his still-life work of that 1990 period. His handling of the paint is very similar although the colour not as high in concession to the fact that it was a commission and needed to be recognisable. It was painted from life inside the RSA building under artificial light and what is resulted is a a warm friendly painting which seems to sit between a painting of a family member and a more formal work like that of Lord Cameron.