James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
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Illness & death

Peter then went to train as a teacher at Cardiff. He was invited to apply for a job creating the art work for a John Schlessinger film about an artist but just missed out on the opportunity. At this time he was interested in creating 3-d artwork structures that could be compressed almost into 2-d. (see two examples of Peter's work).

Peter Wynn-Owen portrait He went to lecture in art at Birmingham University where he met a student, Min, with whom he had a close relationship for some years; they shared a flat in Moseley. At this time he started having more frequent and disturbing mental episodes. His brother wonders whether these were related to his earlier experimentation with cannabis. At one time he wrecked the flat and his parents drove up to bring him home. In the event, he never returned to Birmingham but took some rather unsatisfactory supply teaching jobs in the Watford area. He became somewhat disillusioned with art and trained as a mental nurse at Shenley Mental Hospital, qualifying in January 1979. Four months later he transferred to the Central Middlesex Hospital, where he qualified as an SRN. He worked on the children’s ward for a while and was promoted to ‘sister’.

In about 1970, Peter had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic. At one stage steroid treatment led to weight gain but the treatment was effective. He was then put on an experimental drug, again effective but there were side effects. It affected his nervous system and made him suffer from tremors. Once he was taken off it he realised just how much it had been inhibiting his sense of taste and colour recognition.

His brother recalls that Peter visited him and his wife Anne at Hemel Hempstead and how very enjoyable it was. About a week later, Peter felt another schizophrenic attack coming on. Not having had one for so long, he became very despondent and depressed. He walked around the house and garden for a while, deep in thought, before his father took him to the Psychiatric Unit at Watford General Hospital but only as far as the door. The next day, 7 February 1981, Peter was found dead in the road having fallen from a footbridge over the A40 near Denham. He was thirty-five.