Peter Folkes (1923-)

About Peter Folkes

Spanning sixty years of artistic output across the 20th Century, the influences on Peter Folkes are eminently identifiable in his work. From the academic discipline of the classical Rennaisance to the French Impressionists, from the mid century Abstract Expressionists through to the Pop Art and social realism of the sixties Peter has always retained an ability to absorb ongoing external influences only to process his own personal style which re-emerges with artistic interest. The astonishing collection of works herewith has been a lifetime in the making.

Peter Folkes was born in Beaminster, Dorset in 1923. He trained as a painter at the West of England College of Art in Bristol between 1941 and 1950, with his studies being interrupted by military service between 1942 and 1947 where he served as a draughtsman in the Signal Corps in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. After the war Peter became senior art master and King Edward VI School in Southampton.

Very much out of the mould of two of our other stock artists, John Jones and Ernest Pascoe, Peter had a strong association with the west of England and in 1952 he was elected an Associate of the Royal West of England Society an academician in 1959 and a Council Member between 1987 and 1994.

In 1963 Peter was awarded a Goldsmiths Travelling Scholarship which enabled him to take a year in the States and travel and paint there extensively. This period can clearly be seen to have impacted on him and influenced his work heavily and the prevalent genres of post abstract expressionism, minimalist abstraction and the emerging ‘consumerist art’ and Pop Art scene are clearly identifiable in his work from this time: we have examples in our online gallery. Upon his return he became lecturer in painting at Southampton College of Art.

In 1969 Peter was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in water Colours, before becoming a Council Member in 1971 and was awarded the honour of the Vice Presidency between 1989 and 2009. During these years Peter became Head of Fine Art at the Southampton Institute of Higher Education until his retirement in 1989. He twice won the prestigious Winsor and Newton prize for best group of paintings by a member in the Royal Institute annual exhibition.

In 1990 Peter was honoured to be elected an Honorary Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and was appointed in 1992 as senior art consultant to Winsor and Newton. He was appointed as an external examiner by Southampton University and in 2008 won the ‘Art of Water’ Exhibition at Southampton Art Gallery.

Peter Folkes has had extensive solo and shared exhibitions including the Influential Barzansky Gallery and now erstwhile Crespi Gallery in New York, numerous in London, Gainsborough House in Sudbury and the University of Southampton, as well as the Royal West of England Academy. His work has been purchased officially by the Arts Council of Great Britain, The Royal West of Englnd Academy and the London Contemporary Arts Council.

For a listing of other works in public collections click here:

To view works in our gallery by Peter Folkes please click here: