English version biography:
The first-born son of a large family, Roy Petley was born on 3 April 1950 in Grantham, Lincolnshire. When he was five, Petley was abandoned to the Woodlands School near Uckfield, Sussex. The school also doubled as a home for abandoned children. He escaped his rough and often violent surroundings through art, teaching himself how to paint and draw.
At the age of sixteen, he received a scholarship to study art at Brighton University. But the pull of Italy and the country's old masters of art such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo proved too much. After a semester at Brighton University, he hitchhiked to Italy, settling in Florence where he eked out a living by drawing tourists who frequent the numerous cafes of the city, and studied the classics at the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Pitti. It was also in Florence that Petley had the chance to work with the collections of old master prints and drawings of the Gabinetto dei Disegni e Stampe of the Uffizi Gallery.
Roy Petley paints light; it is his passion. Every image he creates is alive with light; it reveals and conceals, taking possession of space. Whether he is painting sky, water or the human figure he uses a mass of colours revealing them through subdued lights. These colours, which arethe very material of which the light is made, pulsate with life. Roy interprets rather than reproduces nature. He does not take the viewer by the hand and point out every nuance of the view before him. He hints and cajoles; this is poetry rather than pedantry. A subject as prosaic as a Norfolk village is rendered poetic by his form, his colours and, most especially, his light. Following in the tradition of John Constable, John Sell Coteman and Edward Seago, Petley summons up the drama and lowering threat of those huge Norfolk skies which relegate mankind to a walk-on role. In depicting nature versus man he establishes an empathy with the viewer; there is almost a madeleine-moment' when we are taken back to a shared experience and want to say Yes, it was justlike that!' Constable said that he had never seen an ugly thing in his life because whatever forman object might take light, shade and perspective' would always render it beautiful. Likewise Petley'ssense of beauty is not that of the object itself but of light and shade. In his nudes the figures and the backgrounds constitute a whole; the same light which caresses the female figure also caresses the background features. At the same time he casts light as a player in the mise-en-scène of his painting, especially when he places his models contre-jour. The resulting translucence renders the nudes ethereal, almost otherworldly; they have an innocence which beguiles. There is a stillness about them which renders them unthreatening to the viewer; thereis no interchange, no sexual connotation. When he wishes to emphasise the sensual, rather than the sexual, Roy executes his nudes in sanguine. The figures in his pastoral scenes have a romantic, idealised, out-of-time quality which is veryappealing and, again, veryseductive. Wewish to share the same time and the same place with these people; we wish to be a part of the scene. This is Roy's gift, he is able to render what he sees around him with such a straightforward and uncritical eye that we, the onlookers, are seduced into sharing with him his optimistic, unclouded view of the world. Síle Connaughton-Deeny
Petley was only seventeen when he returned to England in 1968. At first, he headed for Belfast, Northern Ireland where the Bell Gallery provided support and encouragement for the young artist. But after some time in Ireland, Petley returned to London and succeeded in exhibiting his paintings in the galleries of the city's high-end shops, such as Liberty's and Heal's. To support his art, he worked in the art department of the Greenwich Theatre.
By the age of 21, Petley left the theatre world altogether and began exhibiting his works on the railings of Green Park in London. In the 70s, the perimeter of the park was home to mostly struggling local artists selling their works to the passing public. Exhibiting on Sundays, the Green Park railings were then respectably called "The Open Air Art Show". Though this tradition still continues, railings has since been occupied by individuals peddling tourist gifts and paintings made in China. He achieved minor success with American art dealers who took great interest in his work.
Following a chance encounter with The Duchess of Kent, a member of the late Queen Mother's household staff came to look at his works. Soon after William Tallon, the late Queen Mother's steward, returned to her with Petley's portrait study of Prince Charles, Petley was summoned to the Palace. Thus began the artist's long-standing friendship with the British Royals, which includes HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and The Duchess of Norfolk as his supporters. Exhibitions ensued in London and Dublin, and in places as far away as Dallas, Texas and the island of Barbados.
In every work of art, Petley incorporates a play of light and shadows. As he moves from his natural medium of oil to watercolour or pastel to sanguine, there remains a certain youthful light emanates from his paintings. A plein air painter, his works reflect his surroundings - from the quiet beaches of Norfolk and the picturesque parks of Paris, to his subtle nudes draped with sheets and sunlight. He captures the romanticism of days gone by, with nary a modern automobile or electrical appliance blemishing his canvas.
Renowned British art critic, Brian Sewell, described Petley as "a painter who still paints, who brushes watercolour onto paper and oil paint onto canvas, a painter who even settles down to draw the nude from life - an absurdly old-fashioned discipline for an artist to pursue."
List of exhibitions
1968: Drawings, Bell Gallery, Belfast
1970: Liberty's Gallery, London; Heal's Gallery, London
1972: The Open Air Art Show, Green Park, London
1973: Crome Gallery, Norfolk
1975: Liberty's Gallery, London
1976: Heal's Gallery, London; One-Man Exhibition, Crome Gallery, Norwich; The Small Gallery, Norwich
1977: Crome Gallery, Norwich
1978: Traveling Show, East Anglian Marine Artists, Cambridge; One-Man Exhibition, Century Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
1979: Traveling Show, East Anglian Marine Artists, Ipswich; Watercolours of Venice, Crome Gallery, Norwich; Century Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
1980: Traveling Show, East Anglian Marine Artists, Cambridge
1981: Century Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
1982: Australian Paintings, Century Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
1983: Century Gallery, Henley-on-Thames; Fermoy Gallery, King's Lynn
1984: Figures and Flowers, Century Gallery, Henley-on-Thames; Casa de Cultura, Estepona, Spain; Alpine Gallery, London
1985: Century Gallery, Henley-on-Thames; One-Man Exhibition, Don Carlos Hotel, Marbella, Spain; Alpine Gallery, London; The Open Air Arts Show, Green Park, London
1986: Galeria Arte, Benehavis, Spain; Paintings from the Mediterranean, Century Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
1987: Alpine Gallery, London; Century Gallery, Henley-on-Thames; Fine Art Trade Guild Gallery, London
1988: Fine Art Trade Guild Gallery, London; Century Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
1989: One-Man Exhibition, Oughertson Gallery, Barbados; Fine Art Trade Guild Gallery, London; One-Man Exhibition, Mistral Gallery, London
1990: One-Man Exhibition, Oughertson Gallery, Barbados
1991: One-Man Exhibition, Solomon Gallery, Dublin
1992: The Bruton St. Gallery, London
1993: Davis Messum, Cork St, London
1994: Davis Messum, Cork St, London (watercolours); David Messum, Cork St, London (oil paintings)
1995: Jorgensen Fine Art, Dublin; David Messum, Cork St, London
1996: The Victorian Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1997: The Victorian Gallery, Dallas, Texas; David Messum, Cork St, London; Jorgensen Fine Art, Dublin
1998: David Messum, Cork St, London; Sammer Gallery, Marbella, Spain
1999: David Messum, Cork St, London; The Victorian Gallery, Dallas, Texas
2000: David Messum, Cork St, London
2001: The Eakin Gallery, Belfast
2002: The Little Gallery, Saint Emilion, France
2003: Stables Gallery, County Antrim; Petley Fine Art, London
2004: Petley Fine Art, London & Monte Carlo; The Little Gallery, Saint Emilion
2005: Petley Fine Art, London & Monte Carlo
2006: Petley Fine Art, London & Monte Carlo
2007: Petley Fine Art, London & Monte Carlo; The Little Gallery, Saint Emilion
2008: Petley Fine Art, London & Monte Carlo
2011 - 2017 : The Little Gallery, Saint Emilion, France
HRH The Prince of Wales
HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
Her Grace The Duchess of Norfolk
The Lord Hanson
Mr & Mrs R. K. Black
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
HRH The Duchess of Kent
HM The Sultan of Brunei
Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane
Biographie version française
ROY PETLEY est né en Angleterre, à Grantham, en 1951.
Amoureux de la France, il s'installe en Dordogne en 1984 et depuis 30 ans
il profite de la sérénité de cette région pour laisser libre cours à son imagination et à sa création. Artiste autodidacte, il peint depuis toujours: paysages, vues de villes et villages (Paris, Venise, Londres, Norfolk...)
scènes paisibles de la vie quotidienne, portraits.
Si son travail d'artiste est principalement réalisé en France, le reste de son temps est partagé entre sa galerie londonniène et ses nombreux voyages d'où il ramène son inspiration du moment et son travail de demain.
Ses oeuvres font partie de très importantes collections:
Le Prince de Galles.
La Reine Elizabeth, la Reine-Mère
Le Duc d' Edimburgh
La Duchesse de Kent
La duchesse de Norfolk
Sultan de Brunei
Musée de Durban
Musée de l'Ulster
Comme un livre se lit et qu'une musique s'écoute .un tableau se regarde et s'apprécie ! !
Point n'est besoin de disserter longuement sur l'uvre de ROY PETLEY,
il faut la voir, la déguster, et calmement, laisser s'instaurer entre le tableau et la personne qui l'admire, cette osmose, cette communion, ce coup de coeur.
Depuis 2002, ROY PETLEY expose en permanence à
« THE LITTLE GALLERY« à Saint Emilion.