Julian Barrow was born in Cumberland but lived for most of his life in London. He studied in Florence with Pietro Annigoni (famous for his early portrait of Queen Elizabeth II) and was an inveterate traveler, painting views throughout the world, including in London, New York, the Middle East, India, and the Far East. For decades he lived, with his wife Serena, in a magnificent studio on Tite Street in Chelsea in the building formerly occupied at various times by Sargent, Whistler, Glyn Philpot and Augustus John. Barrow was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy and was a longtime President of the Chelsea Art Society.
Julian Barrow was described by James Lees-Milne as “a country house painter par excellence” and his commissions for interiors and exteriors of country estates took him all over England, Scotland, Ireland, and America. He also painted many of the private clubs in London and New York. In 1977, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, Barrow produced a painting of the House of Lords which now hangs at Westminster.
John Julius Norwich, in his introduction to the catalogue of a one-man show at the Fine Art Society in London in 2005, notes that Barrow’s pictures “radiate a love of life, a joy in light and shade and colour, a grateful appreciation of all the blessedness that lies around us if we can only make the effort to see it. They warm us; they cheer us; they convince us that whatever terrible things happen in the world, there is a beauty there a-plenty for the asking – and for the taking.”