Born: 2 June 1934
Elected: 26 June 1991
Sonia Lawson studied at Doncaster School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London from 1956 to 1960 where she received first-class honours and a Travelling Scholarship which took her to France in 1960. She went on to teach at Harrow School of Art and Central St Martin’s School of Art in the 1960s, West Surrey College of Art from the 1960s to the early 1970s and at the Royal College of Art during the 1980s. She has been a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal Academy Schools since 1985.
Lawson’s first solo exhibition was held at the Zwemmer Gallery, London in 1960. Subsequent solo shows include the New Arts Centre, London (1963), Trafford Gallery, London (1967) and Manchester City Art Gallery (1987). A touring retrospective of her work was held in Sheffield, Hull, Bradford, Leicester and Milton Keynes (1982-3) and a major retrospective (1966 to 1996) was held at the Dean Clough Gallery, Halifax in 1996. Lawson’s work has also been included in many group exhibitions throughout the UK, Switzerland, China and the USA.
In 1984 Lawson was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum to record the preparations for Exercise Lionheart, BAOR, West Germany. Similarly, in 1989 she was commissioned by Lambeth Palace for a work presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury to Pope John Paul II, which is now in the Vatican Collection, Rome. Further commissions include a book illustration (1993-4) for Poems by James Kirkup (Rockingham Press), two works for Birmingham University (1994) and drawings published in conjunction with a Fay Weldon short story (Clarion Publishing, 1995). Lawson’s work is also held in many private collections in the UK, Germany, Australia and the USA.
Among Lawson’s many awards include the Eastern Arts Drawing Prize (1984), the Lorne Award, London University (1986-7), and the Eastern Arts Open Drawing (First Prize, 1990). She was elected a Member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1984 and Royal Academician in 1991 (ARA 1982). Sonia Lawson lives and works in Bedfordshire and North Yorkshire.
Good drawing is never just about craft or virtuoso skills, nor the dogged science which leads to feats of portrayal. It is about a show of warmth and understanding, a sensitivity and genuine engagement with subject.
Sonia Lawson RA - Selected CV
Recent Solo Exhibitions
2008 Wakefield Art Gallery, West Yorkshire
2006 Buckinghamshire County Museum, Aylesbury
2003 Boundary Gallery, London
2001 Carlow Arts Festival, Eire
2000 Boundry Gallery, London
Royal West of England Academy, Bristol
1999 Shire Hall, Stafford
1998 Boundry Gallery, London
1996 Dean Clough Gallery, Halifax (Retrospective Exhibition 1966-1996)
Arts Council of England
Belfast Art Gallery
Bradford Cartwright Gallery
Carlisle Art Gallery
Dewsbury Art Gallery
Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield
Harrogate Art Gallery
Huddersfield Art Gallery
Imperial War Museum, London
Middlesbrough Art Gallery
Ministry of Works
Government Art Collection
Royal College of Art Collection, London
Royal Watercolour Society Collection, London
St Peter’s College, Oxford
University of Birmingham
Wakefield Art Gallery