Peter Layton is one of Europe's pre-eminent glass designers and has directly influenced several of Europe’s leading glassmakers and inspired many more. With an emphasis on abstract details that evolve during the creative process, Peter is known for his strong use of colour, organic and sculptural forms and the ambitious quality of his truly spectacular large scale pieces.
Peter was born in 1937 into a prosperous Jewish family who lived near Vienna and counted Sigmund Freud and several great musicians among their friends. As war loomed, his parents moved to Prague before fleeing to England in 1939. While at Grammar School, Layton met artist David Hockney, and years later attended Bradford Art College and then London's Central School of Art and Design, specialising in ceramics. On graduating, he was offered a teaching job in Iowa University's ceramics department, where Harvey Littleton and a number of other potters were pioneering the use of hot glass techniques. In 1966, Peter participated in one of their first experimental workshops and was bewitched by the immediacy and spontaneity of the medium. Since returning to Britain, Peter has been a vigorous proponent of glassblowing as an artform. In 1969, he helped Sam Herman build the first furnace at the Glasshouse in Covent Garden and he subsequently established his own small glass studio at Morar in the Highlands of Scotland, a Glass Department at Hornsey College of Art (Middlesex University) and, in 1976, the London Glassblowing Workshop in an old towage works on the Thames at Rotherhithe. In 1995, the studio moved to the Leathermarket at London Bridge and, in 2009, the London Glassblowing studio and gallery moved to more suitable premises on Bermondsey Street. Peter received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Bradford, has become an Honorary Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers, an Honorary life member of the Contemporary Glass Society and also been given the Freedom of the City of London.
Glass is extraordinarily seductive. Every piece is an adventure and you never know exactly what you have created until you open the kiln and see how a piece has turned out. I love that moment of surprise.