John Preston

Born 1952.  Married, with 1 step-daughter and 4 step-grandchildren. I studied Architecture and Art History at Cambridge.  My art career has run in parallel with work in building conservation. I was Historic Environment Manager for Cambridge, with responsibility for the city’s historic buildings and trees, until 2012, and involved nationally as the Institute of Historic Building Conservation’s  Education Secretary, then first chair of its Green Panel.  I am now a freelance Artist, Historic Environment Consultant and Lecturer.  I am now retiring from 7 years as Heritage Chair of the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance, and looking forward to spending more time in my studio.

I have always painted and drawn. I started etching in 1980 at a CCAT evening class in Cambridge; I just knew I wanted to try printmaking. The tutor advised me to start with etching, and I have been etching ever since. I was elected a member of the Cambridge Drawing Society in 1982.  I have been a regular Cambridge Open Studios and Drawing Society exhibitor, except for a break from 2003 to 2012.  My studio is at St Barnabas Press.

In 2011 I was invited to exhibit in China; I was the lead artist for a major sold-out exhibition in 2014 at the Heilongjiang Province Fine Art Museum in Harbin. In 2016 my aquatint “Floodlit Lantern” was selected by Norman Ackroyd RA for “The Masters: Etching” at the Bankside Gallery.

My work is featured in “Limited Edition” a Mascot Media book published for the Cambridge Original Printmakers Biennale 2018, and in “The Cambridge Art Book” published in 2017.

My subjects include buildings, landscapes, trees and more, both in and around Cambridge and from my travels.



Open Exhibitions including:

East of England Show 1981-94 (best picture 1985, prizewinner four times)

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 1984, 1985 (also shortlisted nine times)

Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers 1984, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991
Premio De Grabado Maximo Ramos (Ferrol, Spain) 1990, 1991

Cambridge Open Art Exhibition 2014-16 (Top 20, 2016)

The Masters: Etching, Bankside Gallery, London 2016


Shared and invitation exhibitions including:

20th Century British Etchings, Sebastian Pearson Gallery, Cambridge 1990, 1994

Venice City of the Winged Lion, Stephen Bartley Gallery, London 1991

National Print Exhibition 1998

The Art of Printmaking, Williams Art, Cambridge 2010

Cambridge Original Printmakers’ Biennale 2016, 2018

Cambridge Perspectives: Architecture in Translation, Cambridge 2016-7


One and two person shows including:

Old Fire Engine House, Ely   1983, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2014

London Weekend Television Centre 1985, 1986

“Silver Silvium” (trees) with Neil Warmsley, Williams Art, Cambridge 2013

Heilongjiang Province Fine Art Museum, Harbin, China 2014