INDEPENDENT AWARD WINNING GALLERY

Paul Horton

Paul Horton is widely regarded as one of the most popular British artists of his generation.

Born in 1958, he has painted for over 40 years, and has been a full-time artist and exhibitor for the past 20. He grew up amid the tough environment of a council estate in the 60s and 70s, and as a child was determined to overcome the adversity of an ongoing battle with asthma and find escape and comfort in his artistic talent.

After an art teacher at school told him he ‘drew like a Pre-Raphaelite’, he became fascinated by the Victorian art movement led by Holman Hunt, Millais and Rossetti, and discovered an interest in figurative painting which he developed by taking life drawing classes at the Bournville School of Art in his home city of Birmingham. In 1976 he was awarded a Certificate of Merit by the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.

During the mid-80s Paul discovered a new source of inspiration. He visited a puppet theatre at the Midland Arts Centre that was about to close. The magical world of puppets and marionettes seemed to him to be ‘a lost world’ of fables, fairytales and folklore – he wanted to bring them back to life. He began to paint puppets, at first with strings, and later without, freeing them from their earthly bonds. 

Other elements of Paul’s very personal iconography include the harbour, a symbol of safety in a storm; the cosy, welcoming house, providing protection and sanctuary from the bigger world; the working man who shoulders the burden of providing for his family, and the good wizard whose lantern is a beacon of light and hope.

He is steeped in art history, citing as influences artists as diverse as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, impressionist Degas, post-impressionist van Gogh, modernist Chagall and British painter LS Lowry, best-known for his industrial landscapes peopled by ‘matchstick men’ and also fascinated by marionettes.

In the autumn of 2013 Paul’s work was the subject of a major exhibition at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Its title, Love and Hope, encapsulates his outlook on life, and the emotions inspired by his paintings.


Paul Horton is widely regarded as one of the most popular British artists of his generation.

Born in 1958, he has painted for over 40 years, and has been a full-time artist and exhibitor for the past 20. He grew up amid the tough environment of a council estate in the 60s and 70s, and as a child was determined to overcome the adversity of an ongoing battle with asthma and find escape and comfort in his artistic talent.