Edwards, Peter (b.1955)

Born 1955, Edwards’ interest in drawing, from an early age, led to his decision to go to Art School and pursue a career in art. He studied art during the 70’s when figurative art was relatively unpopular but he stuck with it and developed his true vocation, portrait painting. Edwards is perhaps best known for portraits hanging in the National Portrait Gallery, in particular those of Sir Bobby Charlton, Seamus Heaney and Kazuo Ishiguro. Edwards does not hope to create an exact likeness of his sitter but rather provide his own version, imbued with character and personality. Several of Peter Edwards’ works are owned by the National Portrait Gallery as part of its permanent collection, and his work is also part of the collection at 10 Downing Street. Edwards’ break came when his very first work, a small self-portrait was bought during the pre-show banquet of the 1980 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, London. Another landmark in Edwards’ career is his life-sized portrait of The Liverpool Poets. A prize-winning entry in the 1985 Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery, London, the painting was bought by the gallery and led to his major one-man show Contemporary Poets’ in 1990. The exhibition featured 18 life sized portraits of British poets, and resulted in his work being purchased by museums and galleries worldwide, such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the National Portrait Gallery. The show toured to nine further venues and included readings by selected poets. Many major commissions followed which included famous names such as Sir Bobby Charlton, Willy Russell, Michael Winner and John Cleese. In 1993, Edwards showed with Lucian Freud, David Hockney and Joseph Beuys, and then in 1994 won the BP Portrait Award with his ‘Portrait of an Artists’ Model’, both once again at the National Portrait Gallery.

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