John Bellany was born at Port Seton in Scotland in 1942. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art before obtaining a travel scholarship that allowed him to go to Europe, where he visited Paris, Holland and Belgium. Upon his return he attended the Royal College of Arts, London.
In 1986 he was given the first solo show ever to be held at the National Portrait Gallery. Internationally renowned, Bellany's work is held in many collections including Tate Britain, the Scottish National Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Bellany was elected a Royal Academician in 1991 and an Honorary Member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1986. He was awarded a CBE in 1994.