Samuelson, Peter (1912-96)

Peter Samuelson was a British painter. Born in Salisbury in 1912, Samuelson studied at Eton College where his artistic aptitude was first recognised. The artist studied at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts in Paris before moving to Holland, where he sought work as an illustrator. Following his service in the Second World War, the artist returned to England in 1947 where he worked as an illustrator and later a set designer in London. In the early 1950s Samuelson helped his mother run a boarding house in Torquay, Cornwall. It was here that much of his brightly coloured portraiture and life study work was produced, inspired by the myriad of characters which passed through as lodgers. Samuelson returned to London in 1952, where he opened his own boarding houses, continuing his practice of using lodgers and guests as subjects. The artist, though shy in nature, was able to capture life and movement fluidly in his work, distilling the essence of his subjects – often merely observed in the public spaces of the boarding houses – with great skill. Despite his great love of painting and drawing, he did not seek professional recognition for his work. In 1965 Samuelson abandoned painting almost entirely; opting to spend the latter years of his life restoring Oriental rugs. It was not until the late 1980s that Samuelson began to be recognised as an artist. His work was displayed at the Leighton House Museum, London and a book of his work, Post-War Friends, was published in 1987. The artist died in 1996.


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