Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Jon Peaty

I haven't been able to find out anything regarding Peaty other than his contribution to Swift Annual 6 (1959). His work was signed. Useful, but it isn't a style I recognise from elsewhere.

Update: 17 June 2008
I've just noticed that the Helensburgh Heritage Trust website posted the following story on 4 May 2008:

Gregor Ian Smith -- The 75-minute portrait
by Donald Fullarton

A MUCH admired feature of the exhibition held by Helensburgh Heritage Trust in April 2007 to mark the centenary of the birth of burgh artist Gregor Ian Smith was an excellent portrait of him by Jon Peaty.

The property of Helensburgh and District Art Club, it was lent to exhibition organisers Helensburgh Heritage Trust for display and also for use as a publicity image.

At the very successful month-long exhibition in Helensburgh Library, a number of visitors asked about the portrait and Mr Peaty, but little seemed to be known about him. There the matter rested — until January 2008.

The artist’s son, David Peaty, who lives in Shoreham-by-sea, West Sussex, was searching the web for information about his late father when he found the image on the website of the 2007 Lomond and Clyde Springfest which coincided with the exhibition.

He emailed Springfest organiser Anne Urquhart and asked about the source of the image. She passed on the message to the Heritage Trust, and they asked Mr Peaty for more details about his father — and the Art Club if they knew any more.

Both inquiries produced fascinating information. David Peaty was first to respond with detail about Jon Peaty, who was born on March 7 1914 and died on January 26 1991.

He says: “Jon lived the last 20 years of his life in North Yorkshire, on the edge of the Wolds following early family life in Wales, London and Sussex. From the 1960s onwards he lived by painting landscapes and portraits and teaching.

“What a characterful image of Gregor Ian it is too. JP was often at his best when painting fast, and with a degree of 'free sketching' — which I detect here. It is very likely that this painting was the result of a 'demonstration' given to the art club either by specific invite or, more likely, when Jon was in the area teaching . . . probably in the early 1970's.

“I only have knowledge of his being a tutor on painting weeks in Kirkcudbright. I know that is not your area, but perhaps Gregor Ian went on these events — or indeed other teaching weeks in parts of England and Wales — as a participant and was invited to sit as a model?

“It was not uncommon for the sitter to be handed the painting at the end of the process. Maybe the connection was a longer standing friendship? Of course this is all speculation.

“I have a considerable amount of Peaty archive material and more turns up on a regular basis. Unfortunately I have not yet put together a coherent biography but hope to do so in due course.”

Meanwhile, the secretary of the Art Club, Anita McLaren — herself a very talented artist whose work is much in demand locally — was busy finding out the background to the club’s ownership of the portrait.

“It was done in 1980 at the Clyde Community Centre in Helensburgh,” she said. “A previous president of the club and his son, Brian Weston, had been on painting courses run by Jon Peaty in Sandsend, near Whitby, and in Kircudbright. They arranged for him to come up to Helensburgh and take a week\s course of painting — which was oversubscribed!

“He painted Gregor Ian Smith as a demo in 75 minutes, and the club then bought it as Gregor Ian had just been voted honorary president of the club. It is kept in the Library and looked after by the Anderson Trust, which has a collection of paintings of local interest.”

For those who knew Gregor Ian, it is incredible to think that such a splendid likeness was created in so short a time.


  1. I went to live in Jon Peaty's house in Scarborough when he moved to York. It was The Barn" at 7 Fulford Road. He painted a portrait of my mother and myself which I treasure.
    I was very interested to see this article. dIn fact, my portrait was done during a lecture at the Scarborough Art Society, of which my mother, Julia Eden Mann, was a member.

  2. I just purchased an abstract English countryside oil on burlap painting in Wilmington, North Carolina USA. It is unsigned on the front, but subscribed on the back of the canvas is "The Adur at Bramber by Jon Peaty 80 Downland Ave. Southwick Sussex No. 2". It is undated. A gorgeous painting in thick oil stokes of the pallet knife in grays, slate blues, soft greens and a hint of pink. There is also a meandering river near the home with a small row boat and two people talking bear the boat. If you have any additional information about this painting, please let me know. I feel very fortunate to have found this lovely painting.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. I have three paintings by Jon Peaty but know nothing about him. On the back of one of the painting it says "Jon Peaty-England, Moorgaate London EC2" I live in the US and am unfamiliar with what this may signify. If you would like further information about these three, please let me know.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. I've just found this website and am pleased to see the interest in JP. We have 2 oils by him bought at a selling exhibition in Bradford in the early '70's One a beach scene (maybe N Yorkshire) and the other an abstract underwater scene both beautifully painted. Dora Bryan also bought at this exhibition (I think a painting of hot-air baloons. The show was organised by Lane Galleries, Heaton Bradford, now closed.

  7. I knew Jon Peaty when I lived in London and I believe that some of my family members have several of his paintings. My mother and her socialites were part of the American Women's Club, and Jon was their teacher. They frequently met and painted at our house in Kensington, at 44 Kensington Square. I have very fond memories of Jon and would love to provide more detail if David is still interested. I can be reached at All the best!


  8. I have in my possesion a watercolour by Jon Peaty, titled :
    Big Brother. I would be interested in selling it to someone who was genuinley interested in the man's work.
    Please contact me at

  9. I am David Peaty, Jon Peaty's son.
    There will be a retrospective exhibition of Jon's work in Shoreham-by-sea in September 2020. Details to follow.
    A Peaty-specific website will also follow.
    In the meantime if anyone has any examples of Jon's work - either commercial or paintings - please do contact me at


  10. We have an oil painting by Jon Peaty - "Grandpa" a beach scene (looks like Scarborough ) with "Grandpa" and family walking in the sea.The pencilled signature now obliterated.Who was the family?
    Grateful for help.
    Tom Henson

    1. Dear Tom,
      If you send me a jpg of the painting I will try to help
      David Peaty send to:



Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books