William MacTaggart was a Scottish painter. Born in Loanhead in Midlothian, Scotland in 1903, MacTaggart began his artistic education at the Edinburgh College of Art where he studied between the years 1918 and 1921. During this time MacTaggart came to befriend a great number of contemporaries such as William Gillies, Anne Redpath and William Crozier among whom he would be considered the principal proponents of the Edinburgh School movement. In 1929 the artist participated in his first solo exhibition at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh – though he had exhibited at Cannes, France four years prior. In the years that followed, MacTaggart shared a studio with his friend and contemporary William Gillies.
Whilst continuing his pursuit of professional success as a painter, MacTaggart served as an artistic educator for several years. In 1933 he began teaching at his alma mater the Edinburgh College of Art, a position in which he remained until 1958. The artist continued to paint, and devoted much of his time to championing the interests of his peers. Between the years 1933 to 1936 MacTaggart served as President of the Society of Scottish Artists. He had enjoyed a long relationship with the Royal Scottish Academy, with which he had exhibited regularly from 1929 onwards, and later served as Secretary from 1955 onwards and as President between the years 1959 to 1964.
His efforts and contribution to furthering the arts were recognised by a Knighthood with which he was bestowed in 1962. MacTaggart died in 1981. His work remains in a variety of collections throughout Britain, particularly those in his native Scotland.