Philip Sutton b. 1928

Philip Sutton is a British artist who has been active since the 1950s, best-known for highly coloured paintings and prints of landscape, flowers and figures.


"For me colour is all about invention, having the freedom to choose from a kaleidoscope of options rather than matching reality. I feel like a wild musician running through an orchestra, playing any instrument I wish."


Born 20 October 1928 in Poole, Dorset. After leaving the RAF, in 1948, Sutton gained a place at the Slade School of Arts, where he studied under William Coldstream. He won the Summer Composition Prize in 1952 and travelled to Spain, France and Italy on scholarships for a year, before returning to teach at the Slade from 1954 to 1963.


Sutton’s first one-man show was held at Roland, Browse and Delbanco in 1956, the year he was also elected a Member of the London Group - despite living in Snape, Suffolk. This was followed by many solo exhibitions throughout the UK, including the Geffrye Museum, London in 1959, ‘Retrospective’, at Leeds City Art Gallery in 1960, exhibitions in Newcastle, Bradford and Edinburgh in 1961 and at the Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield in 1971. In 1977 the BBC Arena Programme made a film about his work and a retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. His first exhibition in Paris was held at Galerie Joel Salaun in 1988.


Sutton has travelled extensively in order to paint. In 1963 he went to Australia and Fiji, returning the following year with a large exhibition of tropical landscapes. In 1980 he returned to Australia to paint for four months, resulting in an exhibition of large paintings of the Great Barrier Reef which were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1982. He has also painted in Cornwall, Ireland and Crete.

Sutton has received several important commissions, including the design for a graphic media for the 1979 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, a tapestry for Shell in 1984, two tapestries at West Dean College in 1984 and '86, a London Transport Soho Poster, and a set of stamps for the Post Office in 1987. In 1986 he became involved in painting ceramics and was commissioned by Pentagram to paint a wall of tiles to be installed at the Art Tile Factory, Stoke-on-Trent; this was followed by a similar commission for NMB Bank, Amsterdam. An exhibition of his painted ceramics was subsequently held at Odette Gilbert Gallery, London in 1987. In 1995 he began work on a series of paintings on William Shakespeare which continued for three years.

Sutton was elected an Associate Royal Academician in 1977 and a Royal Academician in 1988 and lives and works in Pembrokeshire, Wales. His works are in the collections of the Courtauld.