Buckingham Covers - First Day Covers

John Wigston GRA


John E. Wigston was born at Redhill, Surrey in 1939, but spent most of his early life in Chingford, Essex.

All his life, transport has fascinated him, especially railways. It was natural, therefore, for transport to be the earliest subject for his other hobby – painting.

After initial training in horticulture, three years in the RAF and two years with Ilford Films at Brentwood, he moved to the North East, where his wife Vilma comes from, and joined ICI on Teesside. His art began to take on more importance when he attended Hartlepool College of Art where he received much encouragement from the staff and in 1969 had his first one-man exhibition at the Gray Art Gallery, Hartlepool.

More exhibitions followed, including the Museum of British Transport, Clapham and Doncaster Art Galleries. The 1975 150 Celebration brought a commission from the Tourist Board for a painting of 'Locomotion' which in turn led to more commissions from Barclays Bank, the North of England Development Council and one from as far as Canada.

Marine painting is an important part of his work. H.M.S. Warrior, the worlds first iron battleship is one of his major subjects and he mounted an exhibition aboard the ship during its restoration at Hartlepool. He has recently completed a commission from New York of the American liner 'Constitution'.

However, anything driven by steam fascinates him and in recent years he has enjoyed the company of traction engine enthusiasts. This has led to paintings of these wonderful machines in their various forms from industrial, agricultural and fairground scenes.

Railways still remain a favourite subject and he is now very much involved with a railway society in Falun, central Sweden and is a member of the Guild of Railway Artists.

Although still occupied with the painting of steam locomotives, John has worked on a series of watercolours from the famous Cunard Liners ranging from the 1880's to their present day fleet. In the summer 1996 he was artist in residence on the QE2 on a transatlantic passage to New York and was recently commissioned by Suitzer Tonnage Ltd, for a painting of their tugs with the QE2's last departure from Southampton.