Peter Collins was born in 1923. His first job was in the commercial studio of an advertising agency, during which time he attended art school in the evening. His career was interrupted by WWII, when in 1943 he entered the army, serving in the Royal Artillery. He was attached to the Education Corps teaching painting and drawing and was also a part-time teacher at St Martin’s School of Art.
After the war, Collins won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, which he attended between 1947 and 1950. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art, 1952–6, and gained a Post-Diploma Scholarship and an Andrew Grant Major Travelling Scholarship in 1957, studying in Italy, 1957–8. He lectured at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee.
He then became a commercial artist, producing iconic travel posters for British Railways and British European Airways. He also worked as a designer for ICI and Shell, and was Art Director at Odhams Press.
In the 1960’s Collins and his wife Georgette converted a group of buildings in Balcombe, Sussex which became Balcombe Galleries. In 1975 they acquired Stanley Studios in Chelsea, which were scheduled to be demolished. They redeveloped the site, filling the space with paintings, antiques, curios and sculptures. Stanley Studios had a considerable cultural pedigree, having been a workspace for artists such as Jack Smith, Rodrigo Moynihan and Elizabeth Frink.
He was a professional member of SSA. Group shows included Arts Council of Northern Ireland, New Charing Cross Gallery in Glasgow and in 1970 he was included in Scottish Arts Council show Seven Painters in Dundee, where he lived. Had a solo show at Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 1968. Aberdeen Art Gallery, Scottish Arts Council and Edinburgh Education Authority hold examples.