John Byrne was born in 1940 in Paisley, Scotland and in 1965 attended the Glasgow School of Art where he excelled. In his final year he was awarded the Bellahousten Award, the school's most prestigious painting prize, and spent six months in Italy, returning a masterful and confident young artist. His work is held in major collections in Scotland and abroad. Several of his paintings hang in The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, the museum of Modern Art and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. In 2007 he was made a full member of the Royal Scottish Academy and is an Honorary Fellow of the GSA, the RIAS, an Honorary Member of the RGI and has Honorary Doctorships from the universities of Paisley, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Strathclyde.