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The Heatherley School of Fine Art, 75 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0RN  |  phone 020 7351 4190

In memory of Principal Emeritus John Walton RP

Remembering Principal Emeritus John Walton RP

We have sad news. Our Principal Emeritus, John Walton, passed away peacefully in hospital on Saturday, September 2nd 2023. Even though John was in his 98th year, his death still seems a surprise to all those who knew him as Principal of the Heatherley School of Fine Art. When he retired, well into his eighties in 2013, we had become used to the idea that John would go on forever and probably outlive us all.

We will always owe John a great debt of gratitude for all the work he put into saving our historic school at a time when, in the 1970s, it had been threatened with closure. Years later, he led us to our modern new home in Lots Road and was able to see the school build its creative future, becoming the proud educational charity we are today.


John Walton RP, Self Portrait
John Walton RP, Self Portrait


Throughout his career as teacher and Principal of Heatherleys, John maintained the focus of our school as a place where figurative painting and sculpture could be supported. 

John received his own art education at the Slade School of Art in post-war London earning his reputation as a skilled portrait artist and receiving prestigious commissions to paint the great and good. He was an active member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and prime mover of the Federation of British Artists.

John’s passing will mean a sad loss for staff, students and friends of the school he loved and remained passionately involved with to the end of his life. He leaves his wife Alice, daughter Victoria, sons James and Roland and his grandchildren. My sincere sympathy and condolences to all his family.

Veronica Ricks