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About The Artist 

"These are deep, compassionate paintings that not only explore the possibilities of painting, but also what it means to be human."
Sue Hubbard, Time Out, 1997

"Griffin I see as a major artist... One cannot help thinking these paintings will make the world a better place." 

Norbert Lynton, Modern Painters, 1991

b. 1947, Wakefield, Yorkshire
d. 2020, London



The Royal College of Art


RBA Rome Scholarship



The Wingate Fellowship for Humanities in the Arts


The Rome Scholarship in Painting


Anstruther Purchase Award

Read full artist CV and exhibition list here:

Excerpt from biographical obituary written by David Haste, artist & writer, formerly Head of Fine Art, Kent Institute of Art & Design, Canterbury (2021):

Into humble origins in the Yorkshire mining town of Wakefield, Griffin was born 3rd October 1947. Three days after giving birth his mother died from gangrene through medical error, a painful loss and total omission that would remain with him all his life.

His father, recently returned from military service, was unable to care and baby Pete was nurtured and raised through childhood into manhood by his grandmother in her small two-up, two-down, gas and candle-lit terrace house. From Romany stock, ‘gran’, a collector of bric-a-brac, Victorian ornaments, stuffed animals in glass domes and the like, but with few books, provided all. He drew and painted as a child but had no inkling of ‘art’ until he left school at fifteen for factory work and the day he walked into the city museum to be entranced by the drawings of Barbara Hepworth who he later visited at her home and studio in St. Ives. Likewise, fortuitously meeting Gyorgy Gordon, a refugee from the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, who, then teaching at the local art school, talked to him about art and how he too could become an artist. With such encouragements Griffin attended evening classes, acquired some educational certificates to accompany his art work and enrolled at Wakefield School of Art. A year of revelation and pleasure with some serious reading and meeting his life-partner Rosalie, ‘Rosie’ from Liverpool, then on to spend three creative years at Loughborough College of Art before moving down to London and the Royal College of Art for what he later described as his ‘most profound’ education. Meeting and working alongside the artist-in-residence, the surrealist Robert Matta, he was drawn into the inner worlds of imagination, made all the more tangible through visual suggestion and searching for meanings through painting. In 1977, he was awarded the painter’s Prix de Rome and spent two formative years in Rome, the culminating decade of his art education. Rome had so much to offer, the revelation of sculpted antique figures, forms and shapes evoking tangible human presence in countless images and historical fragments that he encountered throughout the city, looking at Renaissance and Etruscan images, drawing in front of Caravaggio’s paintings in the Vatican, which, grand palace that it was, amused him by reminding him of ‘gran’s house’ but above all seeking to learn from the basic elements of great art. While in Rome, he met Terry Frost – then a committee member of the British School who, as the older artist, came to play such a significant part in his development both as mentor and supporter, and a much loved friend. 

Read the full version here: 

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