Peter Bishop


My friend, Peter Bishop, who has died aged 68 of pneumonia, was an art lecturer and landscape artist who specialised in painting the mountainous scenery of north Wales, in particular Snowdonia. Using an inventive combination of materials and with expansive, expressive and multilayered colourisations, he followed in the line of artists such as Richard Wilson, James Dickson Innes and JMW Turner, if not exactly in their style.

Peter was born in Pembroke, in south-west Wales, to John Bishop, a flight lieutenant in the RAF, and his wife, Christine (nee Humphrey). As a baby he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that necessitated extensive plastic surgery and corrective procedures in military hospitals, where he often found himself on wards with badly injured airmen.

His secondary education was spent at the Society of Friends school in Sibford, Oxfordshire, and there he learned to respect and understand the Quaker philosophy.

He studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, graduating in 1978, and completed a PGCE at University College London. He and I met when we both began teaching art at Sydenham school, south-east London. His conversation marked him out as a serious artist, an impression confirmed when I visited his two-roomed flat to discover that half of it had been given over to a studio crammed full with paintings, a silk-screen press, drawings and books on art.

In 1979 at a party he met Jenny Beaumont, a teacher, and they married the following year and moved to Worcestershire, where Peter taught at Bridley Moor high school in Redditch. In 1985 he resigned on a point of principal when he felt art was being unfairly marginalised on the school curriculum. His resignation was preceded by a move to Shropshire, bringing Peter closer to the mountains of north Wales, which were to be his subject for the rest of his life.

From 1985 onwards he was a lecturer in fine art at Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology, later combining that work with being a visiting lecturer in art history at Birmingham University and a visiting tutor in painting at the University of Wolverhampton School of Art. He completed an MA in Birmingham in 1995 and a PhD in art history (Slade School and Aberystwyth University) in 2003, however by this point his rapidly deteriorating eyesight enforced his early retirement.

Despite being virtually blind, and able to work only in extreme close-up, Peter continued painting, and his last major exhibition was in 2012 at the Museum of Modern Art in Machynlleth.

Peter had held regular solo exhibitions throughout his career and was included in many group shows, including at the Royal Academy. His book, The Mountains of Snowdonia in Art, a comprehensive study of the art of the region, was published in 2015.

In 2020, pioneering eye surgery largely restored his sight and at the time of his death he was organising a retrospective exhibition of his work in Machynlleth.

David Williams (published in The Guardian August 2022)
Read this obituary on the gaurdian


Artist: drawings and paintings of mountain landscape, most recently focusing on Snowdonia, North Wales. Subjects include Snowdon and Cader Idris and the surrounding scenery