At the start of Peter Wagon’s illustrious painting career, he painted picturesque scenes around the country as part of a campaign to promote the Post Office Savings Bank.
He also designed the Post Office Coronation poster in 1953, which was displayed throughout the UK although only two are still believed to be in existence.
His first exhibition was at Bury St Edmunds more than 40 years ago. Since then, there have been exhibitions at Cardiff University, Crewe, Harrods in London, and at the Federation of British Artists, as well as in Germany, New York and many other locations.
Peter was commissioned to paint seven stately homes for their owners: Beaulieu, Blenheim, Castle Howard, Harewood House, Longleat, Warwick Castle and Woburn.
The collection, named the Magnificent Seven, was exhibited in turn at each of the houses mentioned and at the end of the tour, returned to the owners’ collections.
Peter particularly enjoyed his long association with Woburn Abbey, especially the more recent paintings featuring interiors at Woburn, some of which can be seen in publications about the abbey.
Peter has lived in Hemel Hempstead for more than 50 years and recalls his association in the early years of the Dacorum Heritage Trust, the Arts Trust, the Friends of St Mary’s and the Hemel Old Town High Street Association.
He always gave of his time most generously to aid these organisations and thereby made many friends.
His drawings and watercolours feature hundreds of subjects around the Dacorum area.
The former Abbey National Building Society, now the Santander bank, owns and displays six original watercolours in their offices in Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead.
Peter has suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for several years and it is, sadly, some time since he has painted seriously.
He does the odd sketch or painting, but it is unlikely that he will now produce any work of the quality and standard that is so well-known in Hemel Hempstead.
A recent exhibition of his work was held in the town, in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. the Post Office Coronation poster featured in this resume of his work. More than £320 was raised for Alzheimers Research UK from a collecting box on display at the exhibition.
The family ran an arts and crafts supplies and restoration and framing business in Hemel Hempstead’s Old High Street, which later transferred to the Marlowes Shopping Centre. Wagon’s Art Supplies closed in 2002. The recently-launched Grovehill Chronicle also contains several of his drawings.
Limited edition prints of some of his watercolour paintings, principally of local churches, buildings and views of Hemel Hempstead, Dacorum and villages surrounding Milton Keynes are still available through the website www.peterwagonfinearts.co.uk.
Some cards are also available.
There are five categories – churches, full colour, the Old Town, Dacorum villages and black and white and tone. From every sale, £5 is sent to Alzheimer’s Research UK, so Peter is still able to continue to help people – a guiding principle of his life.
Information kindly supplied by Peter Wagon Fine Arts