Born: October 1 1932;

Died: August 9, 2022.

FRANK Pottinger RSA, the sculptor, printmaker and teacher who has died aged 89 produced over his life time a prodigious body of work in which he incorporated his sensitive and acute observations of nature, language, music, architecture and archaeology into skilful manipulations of hard and enduring materials.

In the process he played a part in the artistic movement in Scottish art known as geometric abstraction.

Francis Vernon Hunter Pottinger was born in Edinburgh in 1932. He began his working life as an apprentice in mechanical fitting with an engineering firm, laying the foundation for skills he was to later develop alongside his artistic talents.

But first he had to, like many young men at that time, undergo his National Service, with the Army. Further education then enabled him to work over a three-year period on the portfolio which earned him a place in Edinburgh College of Art and from which in 1963 he graduated with a Diploma in Sculpture.

A post-graduate travelling scholarship enabled a spell soaking up the Mediterranean influences of Turkey and Greece. Frank then went to Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh and trained as a teacher. Until 1973 he taught in schools in Edinburgh and Fife before securing a post as a lecturer in art at Aberdeen College of Education.

Working alongside significant figures in the Scottish art scene such as Frederick Bushe and Barbara Rae he guided trainee teachers in ways to inspire their pupils through art.

In 1985 he left the College of Education and on his return to Edinburgh was able to devote himself full-time to his own creative endeavours. Whilst living in rural Aberdeenshire, in Strathdon, he had been able to produce large-scale works. His new home in Leith incorporated both living space and workspace and included a kiln, but most of his work from that base was of a smaller scale in ceramics and bronze sculptures.

Early in his career he came to the attention of the Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture, first exhibiting in its annual show in its gallery at the foot of the Mound in Edinburgh in 1974. The RSA gave Frank recognition by electing him as an Associate in 1979. By 1991 he was elevated to full membership.

Frank played an active role in the RSA, which is run by artists for artists. He served on committees and was the RSA representative on bodies such as the National Trust for Scotland and Edinburgh College of Art. He also took part in the selection of works for the RSA’s annual exhibitions and in 2003 he was Convenor for Sculpture for its 177th Annual Exhibition.

He himself was the winner of a number of awards, including the RSA William J Macaulay Award and, in 1988, the Sir William Gillies Bequest Award, which enabled him to travel to ceramic and sculpture workshops in Hungary. In 2002 a further award led to travel within the Baltic states to study folk-art, wood carvings and wooden churches. He also benefited from a Scottish Arts Council grant to attend an international conference in Oakland, California.

In his later years he concentrated on the less physically demanding techniques of print-making and from 1996 onwards was a regular and popular user of the Edinburgh Printmakers’ facilities in Fountainbridge. One work of his works – Rock of Ages, an intricate lithograph printed on paper in a limited edition - was chosen to be included in Edinburgh Printmakers' 50th Anniversary show, Process and Possibilities, in 2017.

The workshop is a noisy environment, the impact of which artists attempt to mitigate with background music. Frank hated loud music and made no bones about loathing the singing of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. But he could be calmed by bluegrass music, and when it was known he was coming in, the iconic music from the film, Oh Brother Where Art Thou? was put on the sound system..

In his lithographic and print work he experimented with unusual techniques including one originating in China called Chine-collé, which incorporated fabrics into printmaking. He always had the ability to add a third dimension to otherwise two dimensional works.

He was a consummate perfectionist, arriving at the workshop ready with paper cuts of shapes he had prepared earlier, and when at work he would talk angrily to himself if he felt he had not got something right.

Always with a sense of civic and collective responsibility, Frank contributed to the Edinburgh Napier University’s Widening Access Scholarship Fund, which was boosted through the sale of works by prominent artists.

His work has been shown throughout Britain in spaces such as the Compass Gallery, Richard Demarco Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Hunterian Museum. His works were also exhibited in Scandinavia and Hawaii.

He would have been delighted to have been commissioned to make the Coat of Arms to mark the Royal opening of the new Scottish Parliament building in Holyrood in 2004. Following a design by Mark Dennis, he created the work from fibre glass. On it is the motto Nemo me impune lacessit – 'Don’t Mess with Me'.

Frank also contributed his skills to Old St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Edinburgh, of which he was a long-standing member. No doubt he would have applied the same care to repairing the broken finger of Jesus on its statute of the Madonna as he did to making the coat of arms for the Scottish Parliament.

Sadly after a relatively short illness caused by prostate cancer he died peacefully at St Columba’s Hospice.

Frank was pre-deceased by his brothers, William and James, and his sister, Vera. He is survived by their children and by Norah Smith, his third wife, from whom he was divorced.