Caroline Wiseman Modern & Contemporary

Sir Peter Blake RA is a painter, creator of collage and boxes, draughtsman and teacher, born in Dartford, Kent, in 1932. He attended Gravesend Technical College and School of Art junior department 1946-9, then Gravesend School of Art, 1949-51. After National Service in the Royal air force he went to the Royal College of Art, 1953-6, where he won a first-class diploma. A Leverhulme Research Award enabled him to study popular art on the continent in several countries, 1956-7. He taught at St Martin’s, Harrow and Walthamstow Schools of Art in the early 1960s, then Royal College of Art, 1964-76. In 1961 he was featured in a BBC Monitor programme Pop Goes the Easel. By then he was associated with art concerned with popular images: picture post-cards, children’s games and magazine covers. A year after he won a junior prize at the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition, in 1961, he had a one-man show at the Portal Gallery.

By 1969 he was having a retrospective show at the City Art Gallery, Bristol; others followed in the early 1970s on the continent; and his retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1983, which travelled to Hanover, was the most successful ever there for a living artist. Blake also designed record covers and pop concert posters. Strongly associated with the Swinging Sixties, his art mixes fantasy with reality and associative references. Another aspect of his work was his founder-membership of the Brotherhood of Ruralists in 1975. Elected RA in 1981. Blake was married for a time to the artist Jann Hanworth, then to Chrissy Wilson. Lives in London.