Duncan Shanks was born in Airdrie in 1937 and studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1955 to 1960. During his Post Diploma year he was awarded a travelling scholarship which enabled a visit to Italy. On his return to Glasgow he joined the Art School staff where he lectured until 1979, before leaving to concentrate on painting full-time. Duncan’s first solo exhibition was hosted by Stirling University in 1974. Since then he has exhibited worldwide with notable public exhibitions including Falling Water at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh in 1988, Patterns of Flight at Wrexham Art Centre in 1991 and Poetry of Place at the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow, which coincided with the bequest of the entirety of his sketchbooks to their collection in 2013. Shanks is a member of the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Glasgow Institute and Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour. He has been the subject of twelve solo exhibitions at The Scottish Gallery; his most recent, The Riverbank, was the Edinburgh Art Festival exhibition for 2022.
Una Shanks was born in 1940 and enrolled at Glasgow School of Art in 1958, studying textiles in the progressive department headed by designer Robert Stewart. A string of teaching posts followed graduating, including a year at Jordanhill College, which was later merged with the University of Strathclyde. She lectured in teacher training at Hamilton College until 1982 before taking early retirement, enabling her to focus on her artistic practice full-time. In the eighties and nineties, Shanks exhibited regularly at the Fine Art Society (later Roger Billcliffe in Glasgow), The Royal Glasgow Institute, Royal Scottish Academy and Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour, where she was elected an RSW in 1988.