Philip Hughes was born in London in 1936 and studied at Cambridge University. Self-taught as an artist, his vision has been shaped by extensive travel linked to a preoccupation with the structure of landscape and the archaeology of ancient cultures across six continents. In 1975 he spent a year in the Andean countries of South America and in Provence in Southern France. Over the past twenty years he has made working visits to Zanskar in the West Himalayas, the sites of importance in aboriginal cultures throughout Australia, pre-Columbian ceremonial sites from Cholula to Palenque and Monte Alban in Mexico and Tikal in Guatemala and a number of Anasazi sites in North America.
Philip Hughes has been represented by Francis Kyle Gallery since 1979 and has held twelve one-man exhibitions there, besides participating in the Gallery’s group projects from The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (1991) to Lair of The Leopard: Twenty artists go in search of Lampedusa's Sicily (2005). In 1990 he was given a retrospective by the Museum and Art Gallery, Inverness. In 1998/9 a major retrospective of his work over some thirty years toured public galleries in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. In 2000 he showed The Tin Route at the Tate Gallery St. Ives, the exhibition subsequently travelling to The Musée du Châtillonais, Châtillon sur Seine and the University of Lecce (Galleria Memmo, Lecce, Apulia). The Elysian Garden: a cycle of lithographs with associated paintings was shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2001.
From 1988 until to 1992 Hughes served as a Council Member of the Royal College of Art and from 1990 to 1996 he sat on the Board of The Design Museum. From 1996 until 1999 he served as Chairman of the Trustees of the National Gallery, the first practising artist to hold this position.
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