(British, b.1932)Peter Howell was born in Caernarvon, North Wales in 1932. His father was an Army Captain. He was the youngest of nine children.
Introduced into the world of racing when he was eight years old, he spent his school holidays at Newmarket in the stables of the Honorable George Lambton. After finishing his studies he had the choice of becoming a professional artist, or going on to a career in racing. He chose racing, including training horses as well as riding over fences. He eventually became the head-lad for Lampton. During this period he was always drawing and depicting the horses and landscapes that surrounded him.
In 1963, he decide to pursue his career as a painter. He gained lost time and experience by visiting galleries and studying the work of various 20th Century painters. He was particularly influenced by the French impressionists and their immediate successors.
In 1969, he gave up racing professionally, moved to Cornwall and devoted himself entirely to his painting. In the same year he held a joint exhibition with his wife at Newmarket. This led to his work being seen by Arthur Ackermann & Son, Ltd., of London. He had his first joint exhibition at Ackermann in 1971 and his first one-man show in 1973. In the late 1970's, Criswick Associates, New York, began showing his work in North America. In 1992 he became associated with the Cross Gate Gallery in Lexington, Kentucky, and from that time they have represented his work in America.
The subject matter of his paintings takes him to the racing areas of England, France, and America. He currently lives in the quiet countryside of Kirkcudbright, Scotland with his wife, Joanna.
In 1970, Peter Howell was given recognition on the B.B.C. in a program on English Sporting Art. This was followed by one-man shows in London and New York. In March, 1980, he was represented in Architectural Digest by a double-page color spread in an article titled "Art: The Sport of Kings." The article featured him along with Toulouse Lautrec and Degas.
On October 24, 1984, The Sunday Times of London ran a joint article on Stubbs and today’s equestrian artists, but the article singled out Peter Howell with a photograph and a quote saying: "Howell is about the best there is around today."
Although the major portion of his work is owned privately, he fulfilled a commission of seven large paintings for a hotel, now the Hotel Inter-Continental in Miami, Florida. Over the years several large collections of his work have been assembled by prominent individuals in the international horse racing community.
Stella Walker, today’s most noted writer on British Sporting Art, referring to Peter Howell's first London exhibition says in Horse and Hound of January 11, 1985:
"It was obvious that his approach was stamped with professional understanding of the subject, though his artistic execution was subtle and original in concept.
"To the unknowledgeable it was at once apparent that here was an artist whose style attractively diverged from the traditional but, nevertheless, captured with authenticity the excitement and fascination of the racing world.
"Though he recognized the quality of such masters of the British school of sporting art as Marshall, Herring and Ferneley, they made little impact and it was the French Impressionists, especially Toulouse Lautrec, Monet, and Degas, who used the equestrian scene with imaginative color and fluency, that absorbed him completely and were to prove the dominant influence.
"Individual portraiture of horses and jockeys was not specifically intended. It was the essence of the sporting scene that breathed conviction and today has become the hallmark of Peter Howell's work.
"Though Thoroughbreds provide a constant focal point, it is his subtle coloring allied to skillful use of reflected light and appreciation of landscape effects that make his work outstanding."