Famous British Artists & Painters

If you have ever walked into an art gallery, you would know the magic that art creates. Paintings strung on wall may seem insipid from the outside but just as you step in, you would be enthralled by the magnificent magic that they exude. And just when you get closer to any of them, you would be transported into a world imagined and created on the canvas by the painter. Paintings are not mere amalgamation of colors and creativity. Each painting is the product of vivid imagination and has a gripping story to tell. While the world has been thronged by superlative painters from across the countries, it is British painters that we would be directing our focus on to in this section. Britain has given the world some of the greatest painters since centuries. Unless you have closed your eyes and ears to the world, you would have definitely heard about Francis Bacon, J.M.W. Turner, William Hogarth, John Ruskin, John Everest Millais, Thomas Gainsborough, David Hockney and Damien Hirst. Each of them has been amongst the world’s most talented painters and artists across centuries. Browse ahead and immerse yourself in the artistic galore of these famous British painters.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 
William Blake
(Poet and Visual Artist of the Romantic Age)

William Blake
12
Birthdate: November 28, 1757
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Soho, London, England
Died: August 12, 1827
William Blake, author of The Songs of Innocence and of Experience, was a prominent figure of the early phase of the Romantic Age, known as the pre-Romantic era. Known for his visual artistry and poetry, he was also a staunch abolitionist and a forerunner of the "free love" movement.

 2 
David Hockney
(Painter)

David Hockney
8
Birthdate: July 9, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bradford

Painter, photographer, printmaker, and stage designer David Hockney is best known for his works such as Portrait of an Artist, which became the most expensive piece of art by a living artist ever auctioned, at $90 million. His works have explored themes such as homosexuality. He has synesthesia, too.

 3 
J. M. W. Turner
(Romantic painter)

J. M. W. Turner
12
Birthdate: April 23, 1775
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 19, 1851

J. M. W. Turner was an English printmaker, painter, and watercolorist best remembered for his imaginative landscapes and expressive colorizations. Intensely reclusive and eccentric throughout his life, Turner lived in poor health and squalor for the last few years of his life. He was portrayed by actor Timothy Spall in the 2014 biographical film, Mr. Turner.

 4 
Banksy
(Graffiti Artist)

Banksy
6
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: Bristol, England

Speaking to world through his spray paints and stencils, Banksy is a popular, though anonymous, graffiti artist. He has a unique style that includes stenciling technique and is known for delivering satirical political and social messages. With fans all over the world, this mysterious artist’s works are worth millions of pounds.

 5 
Francis Bacon
(Painter)

Francis Bacon
6
Birthdate: October 28, 1909
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: April 28, 1992

Francis Bacon was an English philosopher and statesman. He played a major role in the development of the scientific method and was an influential figure through the scientific revolution. He served as attorney general and as lord chancellor of England and was the first recipient of the queen's counsel designation. He has created Baron Verulam in 1618. 

 6 
Jemima Kirke
(Artist)

Jemima Kirke
8
Birthdate: April 26, 1985
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Westminster

Jemima Kirke is an English-American artist, actress, and director best known for her role as Jessa Johansson in the HBO series Girls. She is the daughter of Simon Kirke and was introduced to show business at a young age. After acting for a few years, she made her directorial debut in 2019. She is a reproductive rights activist as well.   

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
4
Birthdate: May 12, 1828
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: April 9, 1882

Known for founding the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a legendary poet and painter of the 19th century. His illustrations also adorned the books of his poet sister Christina Rossetti. Known for volumes such as The House of Life, he also influenced the Aesthetic movement.

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 8 
John Ruskin
(Art Critic and Painter)

John Ruskin
4
Birthdate: February 8, 1819
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: England
Died: January 20, 1900

The leading English art critic of the Victorian era, John Ruskin was a hugely influential figure in the latter half of the 19th century. Also a philosopher and prominent social thinker, he wrote on varied subjects like geology, architecture, education, botany, myth, ornithology, literature, and political economy. He founded the charitable trust Guild of St George.

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 9 
John Constable
(Romantic Painter)

John Constable
4
Birthdate: June 11, 1776
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: East Bergholt
Died: March 31, 1837

 10 
Clive Barker
(Playwright)

Clive Barker
5
Birthdate: October 5, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England

Clive Barker is an English playwright, novelist, visual artist, and film director. He gained prominence in the 1980s as a horror writer and has since written many novels and other works. As an illustrator, he has created original characters and series for comic books. He also creates costume designs. He is a recipient of the Inkpot Award. 

 11 

Steve McQueen
4
Birthdate: October 9, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England

Steve McQueen is a British filmmaker and video artist best known for his film 12 Years a Slave. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, making him the first black filmmaker to win the award. He is also a prominent visual artist and a recipient of the Turner Prize, the highest award given to a British visual artist. 

 12 

Jade Jagger
4
Birthdate: October 21, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris

Jewelry and home designer Jade Jagger, daughter of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, has also been a model. She launched the fashion brand Jade Inc. and a lifestyle concept called Jezebel. She has also worked for Garrard and designed luxury apartments in New York and Mumbai.

 13 

Christopher Tolkien
6
Birthdate: November 21, 1924
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Leeds, England
Died: January 16, 2020

Christopher Tolkien was a French and English academic editor. The son of legendary author J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher edited much of his father's work, which was published after his father's demise. Christopher Tolkien is also credited with drawing the original maps in, The Lord of the Rings, one of his father's highly acclaimed novels.

 14 

William Hogarth
5
Birthdate: November 10, 1697
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 26, 1764

 15 
L. S. Lowry
(Artist)

L. S. Lowry
5
Birthdate: November 1, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Stretford, Lancashire, England
Died: February 23, 1976

Laurence Stephen Lowry was an English painter, known for his bleak urban industrial landscapes, peopled with human figures akin to “matchstick men”. He became interested in the subject while working at a Manchester real-estate and began depicting what he saw. Although critics are divided over his stature, they all agree on the relevance of his works as a social commentary.

 16 

Barbara Hepworth
4
Birthdate: January 10, 1903
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died: May 20, 1975
English sculptor Barbara Hepworth, CBE and DBE, was a prominent figure in Modern Art. A Royal College of Art alumna, she used bronze, marble, and wood to create masterpieces such as Single Form and Family of Man, which adorn various venues. She died in a fire at her studio.

 17 
William Turner of Oxford
(Painter who specialised in watercolour landscapes)

William Turner of Oxford
4
Birthdate: November 29, 1789
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Died: August 7, 1862

British landscape painter William Turner of Oxford is often mistaken for the famous painter J. M. W. Turner, who was also from England. Turner was a lifelong member of the Watercolor Society, founded by his mentor John Varley. Oxford from Hinksey Hill remains one of his best-known works.

 18 

Alice Liddell
4
Birthdate: May 4, 1852
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England, UK
Died: November 16, 1934

One of the 10 children of the dean of Christ Church, Henry Liddell, Alice Liddell was about 5 when she met mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as author Lewis Carroll. It is believed she was the inspiration behind Carroll’s iconic creation Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

 19 

Charles Rennie Mackintosh
4
Birthdate: June 7, 1868
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Townhead, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Died: December 10, 1928

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a Scottish architect, designer, and artist. He was married to fellow artist Margaret Macdonald, and they both were influential on the European design movements Art Nouveau and Secessionism. Mackintosh is considered one of the most important figures of Modern Style (British Art Nouveau style). In his later years, he worked largely as a watercolorist. 

 20 
Neil Buchanan
(Television presenter)

Neil Buchanan
4
Birthdate: October 11, 1961
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Aintree, Liverpool, England, UK

 21 

John Everett Millais
5
Birthdate: June 8, 1829
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Southampton, Hampshire, England
Died: August 13, 1896

 22 
Derren Brown
(Illusionist)

Derren Brown
4
Birthdate: February 27, 1971
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Croydon, London, England

British illusionist Derren Brown was first drawn to the world of magic after watching a hypnotism show at the University of Bristol. The star of the long-running show Mind Control, Brown has participated in stage shows and written books, mostly with the aim of debunking the claims of false psychics.

 23 
Justine Frischmann
(Was the Lead Singer of the Britpop band 'Elastica' and Co-Founder of the Rock Band 'Suede')

Justine Frischmann
5
Birthdate: September 16, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kensington, London, England

 24 
Lucian Freud
(Painter, Illustrator)

Lucian Freud
4
Birthdate: December 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: July 20, 2011

The son of architect L. Freud and the grandson of legendary psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, painter Lucian Freud was born in Berlin but later moved to London to flee Nazism. He showed an inclination toward surrealism initially but later drifted to realism. Cedric Morris remains one of his notable works.

 25 
Frieda Hughes
(Painter, Poet)

Frieda Hughes
5
Birthdate: April 1, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England

 26 
Graham Sutherland
(Painter, Artist)

Graham Sutherland
4
Birthdate: August 24, 1903
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Streatham
Died: February 17, 1980

 27 
Eric Gill
(Sculptor)

Eric Gill
4
Birthdate: February 22, 1882
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brighton, East Sussex, England
Died: November 17, 1940

English sculptor and printer Eric Gill first gained attention with his work Mother and Child. Apart from co-founding the St. Dominic’s Press, he also contributed to the illustrations and woodcuts for The Four Gospels. He was also infamous form his deviant sexual behavior, which included incest and animal abuse.

 28 
Aubrey Beardsley
(Illustrator)

Aubrey Beardsley
4
Birthdate: August 21, 1872
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brighton, England
Died: March 16, 1898

Aubrey Beardsley was an English illustrator and author, whose works emphasized the grotesque, the decadent, and the erotic. A leading figure in the aesthetic movement, he was deeply influenced by black ink drawings. He attended classes at the Westminster School of Art before beginning his career as an artist. He was considered an eccentric person.  

 29 

Daniel Chatto
4
Birthdate: April 22, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England

 30 
Vanessa Bell
(Painter)

Vanessa Bell
4
Birthdate: May 30, 1879
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London
Died: April 7, 1961

 31 
Thomas Gainsborough
(Landscape painter)

Thomas Gainsborough
4
Birthdate: May 14, 1727
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sudbury, England
Died: August 2, 1788

 32 

Leonora Carrington
4
Birthdate: April 6, 1917
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Clayton-le-Woods, Lancashire, England
Died: May 25, 2011

Leonora Carrington was a Mexican artist, novelist, and surrealist painter. During the 1970s, Carrington played an important role in Mexico's women's liberation movement as she was one of the founding members of the movement. Carrington, who was fascinated by symbolism and myth, studied alchemy, Popol Vuh, post-classic Mayan mystical writings, and the kabbalah.

 33 
John Berger
(Novelist)

John Berger
4
Birthdate: November 5, 1926
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 2, 2017

 34 
Thomas Cole
(Painter)

Thomas Cole
4
Birthdate: February 1, 1801
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bolton, Lancashire, England
Died: February 11, 1848

 35 
Derek Jarman
(Film director, Actor, Screenwriter, Diarist, Painter, Costume designer, LGBT rights activist)

Derek Jarman
4
Birthdate: January 31, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Northwood
Died: February 19, 1994

 36 
Branwell Brontë
(Painter, Poet, Writer)

Branwell Brontë
5
Birthdate: June 26, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yorkshire
Died: September 24, 1848

 37 
Neil Harbisson
(Cyborg Artist)

Neil Harbisson
4
Birthdate: July 27, 1984
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mataró, Spain

Neil Harbisson is a cyborg artist best known for implanting an antenna in his skull. He is the first person in the world to do so. He gained international prominence after he was legally recognized by the government as a cyborg. An influential activist for transpecies rights, Neil Harbisson co-founded the Cyborg Foundation in 2010. The organization defends cyborg rights.

 38 
Chris Barrie
(Actor and Impressionist Known for His Notable Performance in a Television Cartoon Show 'Spitting Image')

Chris Barrie
4
Birthdate: March 28, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany

Born to an armyman father, Chris Barrie worked as a grave filler after dropping out of college. He then got a break on a TV show. Best known for his portrayal of Arnold Rimmer in the series Red Dwarf, he also gained fame with the BBC sitcom The Brittas Empire.

 39 
Anish Kapoor
(Sculpture known for works like Cloud Gate in Chicago and Sky Mirror in New York, he won the Premio Duemila Prize in 1990 and the Turner Prize in 1991.)

Anish Kapoor
4
Birthdate: March 12, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, india

Born in India, sculptor Anish Kapoor initially studied engineering in Israel but soon quit his studies to study art in Britain. The Turner Prize-winning artist was the first living artist to earn a solo show at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. The Cloud Gate in Chicago remain his best-loved work.

 40 
Judith Kerr
(Writer and illustrator whose books sold more than 10 million copies around the world)

Judith Kerr
4
Birthdate: June 14, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: May 22, 2019

 41 
John Tenniel
(Illustrator)

John Tenniel
4
Birthdate: February 28, 1820
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bayswater, London, England
Died: February 25, 1914

 42 
Gertrude Jekyll
(Horticulturist, Painter, Gardener, Non-fiction writer, Botanist, Architect)

Gertrude Jekyll
4
Birthdate: November 29, 1843
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London
Died: December 8, 1932

Landscape architect Gertrude Jekyll was born into an affluent family and grew up in a refined environment, learning music and traveling. Initially interested in painting, she gave it up to focus on gardening when she developed eyesight problems. She built around 400 gardens and also collaborated with Sir Edwin Lutyens.

 43 
Gerald Scarfe
(Caricaturist, Illustrator, Designer, Animator, Artist, Postage stamp designer, Painter)

Gerald Scarfe
3
Birthdate: June 1, 1936
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St John's Wood

 44 
Terry O'Neill
(Photographer)

Terry O'Neill
4
Birthdate: July 30, 1938
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 16, 2019

Terry O'Neill was a British photographer best remembered for capturing the fashions and celebrities of the '60s. O'Neill was renowned for documenting his subjects in unconventional settings or candidly. His work has been showcased in several exhibitions and art galleries, including the National Portrait Gallery in London. In 2011, Terry O'Neill was honored with the Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal.

 45 
Peter Greenaway
(Theatre director, Film director, Writer, Experimental artist, Screenwriter, Painter, Film editor, Actor, Cinematographer, Television director)

Peter Greenaway
4
Birthdate: April 5, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newport

 46 
W. S. Gilbert
(Dramatist)

W. S. Gilbert
3
Birthdate: November 18, 1836
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Southampton Street, London, England
Died: May 29, 1911

 47 
Stephen Wiltshire
(Architectural artist)

Stephen Wiltshire
4
Birthdate: April 24, 1974
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England

 48 

Edward Burne-Jones
3
Birthdate: August 28, 1833
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
Died: June 17, 1898

 49 

Jack Vettriano
3
Birthdate: November 17, 1951
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Methil, Fife

 50 
Charlotte Johnson Wahl
(Painter, Mother of Boris Johnson)

Charlotte Johnson Wahl
4
Birthdate: November 17, 1951, 1942
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oxford, United Kingdom
Died: September 13, 2021

Artist Charlotte Johnson Wahl is the mother of British prime minister Boris Johnson and British journalist Rachel Johnson. She is known for her portraits and her signature style that mirrors the Vorticist style. Her creations have been featured at the Bethlem Museum of the Mind.