Peter Owen Jones was a prolific and highly accomplished artist. His paintings form a solid memorial to the railway era. His ability to translate his memories to canvas and watercolour are a testament to his complete understanding and respect of both the subjects he painted, and the mediums in which he worked.
Peter was born in the Peak District village of Bradwell in 1933. As a small boy he would regularly travel on the Hope Valley Line, into Sheffield via the Totley Tunnel. Eventually moving to the city, Peter later went to Sheffield College of Art and studied a Diploma in Art and Illustration.
During his study years he worked as a night porter at the Sheffield Midland Station. In the quiet hours he would be found sketching the engines and the folk waiting to board them.
Though he wanted to paint, it was suggested he should get a ‘proper’ job and so went on to do a Teaching Diploma. His first post was at Newfield School, and then onto King Edward VII Grammar School where he became Head of Art. His years of teaching enabled him to have a thorough knowledge of art history and a keen interest in architecture. This formed the base of his works, implementing the knowledge, talent and passion for his subject matter.
He was fascinated by light and changing weather. Capturing a mood and moment was all part of the challenge. Looking at a painting like Terminus (see opposite) you can virtually smell the damp air, the wet overcoats, and the stale tobacco on the top deck of the tram. Equally Peter could capture the still silence of a midday landscape in rural Tuscany as people sat in the shade of the olive trees sipping cold drinks. But whilst he might try his hand at any subject, somehow things always gravitated back to railways.
Peter was invited to become a Full Member of the Guild of Railway Artists in 1979. After a number of exhibitions, commissions for public and private bodies followed including British Rail and the Science Museum. The success of his work enabled Peter to leave teaching after almost 30 years.
He was now free to devote all his time to his true passion. The calibre of his work from 1987 onwards increased as did the sheer quality of the pictures. In the July of that year Peter was honoured to meet the Queen and Prince Phillip. By now his order book was full with commissions for art buyers throughout the UK and overseas. He was at his peak when tragically, in the August of 1993, Peter died suddenly. He was just 60 years old.
What he leaves behind is a collection of unique paintings of which we are immensely proud. We can't fit everything on the web site by any means but do have a look around and call back as often as you like. We will be updating the content on a regular basis. Enjoy!
Helena Hutton and Steve Jones
tel: 01629 650118