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Looking Back and looking forward

Battery, Peter Layton


11.08.17 - 02.09.17

This August, the celebration of Peter Layton’s 80th birthday continues with a remarkable exhibition based on his career in glass. During Reminiscence, Peter Layton’s incredible story will unfold in our gallery.  Follow the artist’s journey from his first studio on the banks of the Thames at Rotherhithe, to the Leathermarket, and on to his current Bermondsey Street studio and gallery, by viewing examples of original work from those periods, together with new interpretations.

Peter has recently revisited some of his landmark series, such as the iridised work that his Rotherhithe studio became well known for in the late 1970’s. Recently he and Layne Rowe have worked with Richard Golding, an expert in iridising, to create beautifully visual and tactile works, employing this amazing technique. Peter has also reworked other early series and has found new, fertile ground in the patterns of Kimono. With its soft matt finish, again emphasising the tactile qualities of his forms, this series was first created at Rotherhithe, inspired by a visit to Japan in the mid 1980’s.

These stunning new pieces have been created in limited numbers for this exhibition, alongside some earlier examples at affordable prices, some as low as £100. Peter has, again, reviewed his archives and has decided to offer some of the early treasures to be admired and loved by others.

Alongside new versions of some of Peter’s iconic series, Reminiscence will include a number of his more sculptural, mixed media pieces such as Battery and The Game of Life.


Reminiscence Exhibition Catalogue

(Click ‘Fullscreen’ in the right hand corner to view the catalogue larger).

Add your story!

‘Reminiscence’ has turned our attention to many different pieces in Peter’s archive, and now we’re curious about other gems from the past. Peter’s collectors have been part of the studio for so long and during this important year, we want to hear from you. Share an image of a piece by Peter Layton in your collection with the hashtag #celebrating80 on Facebook or Instagram and let us know the story behind it. Was it a gift, or a piece that called to you from the gallery? We’ll share some throughout August, and there’s a great prize available at the end.

Revisiting Past series


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  • Kimono revisit, Peter Layton

Created after Peter’s visit to Japan in the eighties, Kimono was a very successful series from that period. Peter has revisited the series, experimenting in daring new shapes, while incorporating the classic etching which creates an inviting matt surface.

Sculptural Work


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Battery is a major piece in the series “Matters of the Heart”, and stems from the insight that between birth and death there are only precious present moments encompassing love, joy, freedom – and of course their opposites. The hearts, which range in colour from luminescent yellows, deathly blacks to healthy reds are animated by pulsating fibre optics.

Chess Set


Originally commissioned by a private client, this was the first of three chess sets by Peter Layton. Each set is totally unique, the pieces are hot sculpted on the blowing iron and the board beautifully crafted in goatskin and vellum.

Materials: Blown glass chess pieces, wood, leather (goatskin) and parchment (vellum) board.

The Game of Life


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This installation, along with others by Peter Layton, comments on society’s drive towards disintegration, and the precarious nature of life. In particular it points to the futility of war, as a game in which ultimately no-one is the winner. In Peter Layton’s version of nought and crosses (or tic, tac, toe) the lenses enable the players/viewers to focus on particular words in his excoriating text.

More Exhibitions

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