Peter Welford intends his art to be seen as a mirror. If its reflection is not always palatable, so be it. These paintings are not comforting salon pictures, but rather meant as a form of journalism. Their themes are provocative and sometimes political, not soliloquies but dialogues with the viewer. The allegorical nature of many of the subjects, and the veiled symbolism which lies within each painting, makes that dialogue the more rewarding. The more one looks, the more one finds.

Welford's technique is miniaturist and layered. Frustrated by the limitation of abstractionism and the stagnation of much contemporary art, he has revived the technique of the early renaissance Flemish and German schools, of which he has made a meticulous study. The extraordinary technical possibilities of this demanding medium - oil and egg tempera on panel, built up painstakingly in layers - produces a finely-finished surface where brushstrokes are eliminated and colours achieve a glowing inner depth.

Although Welford paintings are representational, he protests that his art is not realism. Rather, he constructs a parallel, dream-like world from taken nature, forming a collage of the components of observed reality. He thus creates a virtual world in which his allegories and commentaries are those of idealised beauty, yet charged with psychological tensions. The harmony of colouring and a seductive technical finish are designed to counter the unsettling subject matter. Traditional and even biblical themes are addressed anew to examine their relevance to a world of material dependence and spiritual confusion.

Peter Welford lives and works at beautiful Gwydir Castle in North Wales. His studio is at the top of the late-fifteenth century Solar Tower. 

Simon Jenkins


Peter Welford was born in London in 1964. He studied History of Art and Conservation at the universities of Manchester and London (Courtauld Institute). He continued at the Courtauld as Lecturer before spending eight years as an architectural historian and historic buildings consultant. In 2000 he gave up his architectural consultancies to paint full time.

Peter Welford's paintings hang in many collections in Britain, Europe and beyond. Since 2007 he has taken part in various group shows, as well as two solo exhibitions ('The Triumph of Folly', 2008, and 'Unstill Lives', 2010), all at the Albemarle Gallery, London. His work has also been shown at Art London and the London Art Fair, and was featured in the 2009 exhibition 'Masterworks of Contemporary Welsh Art' held at MOMA Wales.

To watch a short documentary about the artist please click on the image below.