10 Feb 2011


Yesterday the latest issue of The Bristol Magazine dropped on my doormat. The front cover was celebrating 50 years of the Bristol Arnolfini (one of Bristol's Art Galleries). There was a selection of images from the last 50 years amongst which was one of the Arnolfini's first exhibitions in 1961. This had a particular meaning to me as the paintings in that first exhibition were my father's. That particular exhibition in 1961 featured the drawings of Josef Herman and the paintings of Peter Swan RWA (my father). All my father's paintings from that exhibition have long since sold, but we do still have photographs around. Nevertheless it was lovely to see it again in print, many years later. The twins in the paintings below are my brother and sister, Stephen and Joanna, and the 'Mother' in the bottom painting is my Mum.

The Arnolfini used to be housed in a converted warehouse on Triangle West at the top of Park Street. My father was 25 years old at the time and the Arnolfini's Opening Exhibition was to be his first exhibition.

Years later in 1975 the Arnolfini moved to where it remains today, on the waterfront. I was 11 years old then, and have fond memories of playing around the gallery and outside on the water's edge with my brothers and sister whilst my father was in the Arnolfini.

Newspaper Article of the Arnolfini opening, 1961

The Arnolfini Exhibition Programme, 1961

Proprieters of the Arnolfini viewing my father's painting
'Twins with Tricycles' (my brother & sister), 1961

Newspaper Article about the the Arnolfini's first Exhibition and Opening, 1961

'Twins with Tricycles' by Peter Swan RWA, 1960 - 30" x 36" - oil on canvas

'Twins with Toys' by Peter Swan RWA, 1960 - 30" x 36" - oil on canvas

'Mother and Child' by Peter Swan RWA, 1960 - 48" x 30" - oil on hardboard

Peter Swan was born in 1936. He trained at
Somerset College of Art, Taunton: 1953 - 1955
St Martins School of Art: 1955 - 1957, NDD Painting
Institute of Education, London University: 1958 -1959, ATD

Peter went onto teach Art at Ashton Park School and then the College of St Mathias, followed by Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Fine Art, Bristol Polytechnic, retiring in 1985. He has been a member of the Royal West of England Academy since 1970. He works in oil, watercolour and pastel from his studio in Bristol.
To see more of his work on his blog click HERE.