Peter Howson was born in London in 1958; he moved to Scotland in his childhood and enrolled in the Glasgow School of Art in 1975. Peter has admitted that it was only in his final year of art school that his talent was finally recognised and able to grow with the assistance of his tutor, mentor and friend: Sandy Moffat. Peter credits Sandy with discovering his potential as an artist and giving him the confidence to begin his career.
In 1983, after graduating from University, Peter débuted his first public commission, a series of wall murals dedicated to the community in Feltham, London. From this point on, Peter has built a reputation as one of his generation’s most formidable figurative artists and has consistently exhibited both internationally and in the United Kingdom.
Peter’s work is collected throughout the world by many famous and faithful patrons. Throughout his career Peter has been honoured for his services to the visual arts; first, with a Doctors of Letters Honoras Causa from the University of Strathclyde, and most recently, with an Order of the British Empire (OBE) which was awarded to the artist by the Queen in her birthday honours of 2009.
In 2012, Peter was commissioned by St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow to paint the newly instated Saint of the Catholic Church, John Ogilvie to commemorate the life of Ogilvie and to celebrate the monumental renovation of the building itself.
The unveiling of this prodigious work was preceded by a BBC documentary, “The Madness of Peter Howson” which chronicled Peter’s difficult journey to complete the Church’s commission. The finished portrait of Saint John Ogilvie that hangs in the Cathedral today embodies the endurance and suffering of the Saint whilst demonstrating Peter’s enduring ability to represent religious scenes in the manner of the Renaissance masters, whilst infused with a modern perspective.
Throughout his career Peter Howson’s artworks have been celebrated by audiences and critics. It is written that Howson’s pictures have a blunt, sure grasp of the misery of the human condition- a clear eyed vision of the ultimate ugliness of human life? The ability to represent the core attributes of society from a raw, often unforgiving perspective has been paramount to Peter’s success. Peter’s personal life and most intimate moments are known to be carefully concealed in each of his artworks. However, during moments of great personal difficulty and adversity, Peter has practised painting for his salvation and serenity. Therefore, we may find reassurance in the knowledge that while Peter continues to paint and produce his majestic works he can find peace within himself, one canvas at a time.