John Bellany

John Bellany CBE RA (British b. 1942)

John Bellany was born in Scotland in 1942. He studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art under Sir Robin Phillipson from 1960 to 1965. He later attended the Royal College of Art, London, where he studied under Carel Weight and Peter de Francia from 1965 to 1968. Bellany went on to become Lecturer in Painting at Brighton College of Art in 1968 and from 1969 to 1973 was Lecturer in Painting at Winchester College of Art, Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art and at Goldsmiths College of Art. From 1978 to 1984 he was Lecturer in Painting at Goldsmiths College of Art and was Artist in Residence at Victoria College of the Arts, Melbourne in 1983.

John Bellany’s first international solo exhibition was held at Rosa Esman Gallery, New York in 1982 and this led to a number of exhibitions on the continent and throughout the world. In 1986 he was given the first one-man show ever to be held at the National Portrait Gallery, London, centred around his portrait of Ian Botham, commissioned by the NPG. He also had a one-man show at the National Portrait Gallery, Scotland in 1994, exhibiting his portrait of the composer, Peter Maxwell Davis commissioned by the gallery. Major retrospectives of his work were held in 1983 (touring the UK, the United States and Australia), in 1986 at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and the Serpentine Gallery, London, in 1988 at the Ruth Siegel Gallery, New York and at the Hamburger Kunsthalle and Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund (1988-89). Bellany has been honoured with a number of major awards, including, Major Arts Council Award (1981), the Royal Academy’s Wollaston Award (1987). In 1993 he won the Korn/Ferry Picture of the Year Award at the Royal Academy. His commissions include murals for Chesser House, Edinburgh (commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in 1965) and the portraits of Lord Renfrew and Sir Roy Caine (commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, London).

Bellany was elected Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 1988 and in 1994 was awarded the CBE. He was elected RA in 1991 (ARA 1986), Honorary Member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1986, and in 1998 was made a Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art, London.