Philip Sutton b.1928

Philip Sutton RA is a British artist active since the 1950s, best known for his large and highly coloured paintings of landscape, flowers and people. Sutton was born in Poole, Dorset, in 1928 but grew up in Leyton, east London. After leaving school at the age of 14, he worked in a drawing office before carrying out three years’ National Service, during which he was involved in the Berlin Airlift.

After leaving the RAF, Sutton used the ex-serviceman’s grant scheme to gain a place at the Slade School of Fine Art in 1949, and in 1952 won the Slade Summer Composition Prize. At the school’s degree show in 1953, Slade professor William Coldstream introduced Sutton’s work to art dealers Henry Roland and Gustave Delbanco. That same year he married Heather Cooke, then travelled on scholarships to Spain, France and Italy. During their time in Europe the couple had a son named Jake.

On his return to London he began teaching at the Slade School, where he remained for the next nine years. Around this time he made his first sale via a commercial gallery to tenor Peter Pears. The painting sold was a portrait of fellow Slade student Tony Tice. After discussing Sutton’s circumstances with Gustave Delbanco, Pears invited Sutton to lunch with Pears’ associate, composer Benjamin Britten. The pair offered Sutton and his family the use of Joy Cottage in Snape, Suffolk where the family stayed for three years (between 1955 and 1958), though this did not prevent his being elected to the London Group in 1956. Two more children were born during the family’s time in Suffolk—a period during which Sutton’s style as a painter matured as he abandoned abstractism and adopted more subtle colours. Returning to London in 1958, Sutton held his first solo exhibition at the Roland, Browse and Delbanco Gallery, also the venue for many later exhibitions throughout the 1960s and 1970s. It was in these two decades that his work became fashionable.... read more

Philip Sutton Paintings and Drawings

The Painting Room

Philip Sutton: The Painting Room, 1991