Peter Howson was born in London, England on 27 March 1958 to Scottish parents and moved with his family to Prestwick, Ayrshire at the age of four. He studied at Glasgow School of Art (1975–7 and 1979–81), alongside fellow students fellow students Steven Campbell, Ken Currie and Adrian Wiszniewski, becoming a central figure in the school of Scottish figurative painting and his work in this period reflected the economic deprivations of Scottish contemporary life in the 1970s and 80s. He was awarded the Henry Moore Foundation Prize in 1988 and in 1993 was appointed official British War Artist in Bosnia by the Imperial War Museum, producing a number of highly emotive, sometimes controversial paintings recording the violence of war. He was awarded the Lord Provost’s Medal, Glasgow, in 1995, and the following year was made Doctor of Letters, Honoras Causa, by the University of Strathclyde. He was appointed OBE in 2009.