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Rosemary Beaton studied at The Glasgow School of Art (1981-86) at a time when great emphasis was put on teaching drawing and highly figurative painting was re emerging. She was in 1st year when Stephen Campbell; Adrian Wiszniewski ; Ken Currie and Peter Howson were in their 4th year. Among her contemporaries were Mary Maclean; Alison Harper; Lesley Burr; Margaret Hunter and Helen Flockhart. Whilst still a student in third year she was the first Scot and youngest person to win the prestigious John Player National Portrait Award (now BP) in 1984, followed by GSA Alumni Alison Watt in 1987 and Allan Ramsay in 1988.