John MacKenzie (1933 – 2002)

John MacKenzie was born in Oban, Argyll in 1933. He attended Oban High School and after some time spent as a draftsman in a local architect’s office, he joined the Royal Air Force. Following further studies John then worked as a civilian radiographer travelling the world for Marconi before settling in Chester to work in radiography for the RAF.

Becoming bored with the routine of his employment John wanted to have more time to pursue the great passions of his life, painting and golf and decided to become a postman, the hours allowing him the time to indulge these. At one time John played off a golf handicap of three winning one of the most prestigious golf trophies in Chester.

John was a very prolific artist, painting practically every day, extensively in the Chester and North Wales area but two or three times a year he would travel to Oban to visit his family. John visited Iona, a great source of inspiration whenever possible whilst in the area.

John was completely self taught. He particularly admired artists like J D Innes, Joachin Sorrolla, David Bomberg and Augustus John, and of course the Scottish Colourists, Peploe and Cadell.

John was a very unassuming man who had no desire for financial gain or public acclaim and as a result he generally refused to exhibit during his lifetime. Similarly he often failed to sign his paintings – those paintings that are unsigned can be authenticated by his partner Brian, who can provide provenance.

John was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in February 2002, however he continued to paint prolifically during this time. He died in October 2002.