Jack Vettriano grew up in the industrial seaside town of Methil, Fife. He grew up in poverty with his mother and father and older brother, in a spartan miner’s cottage, sharing a bed with his brother and wearing handed down clothes. From the age of 10, his father sent him out delivering papers and milk, cleaning windows, picking potatoes, any job that could earn money. His father took half his earnings. His name was Jack Hoggan.
In 1987, at 36, Vettriano left his wife of eight years, Gail, and stepdaughter, and his job in educational research, and moved to Edinburgh. There, he adopted his mother’s maiden name, gave away his suits to a neighbour and started dressing as an Edwardian dandy. He applied to study Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh, but his portfolio was rejected.
His easel paintings cost between £48,000 and £195,000 new, but he is thought to make more money from the sale of reproductions. According to The Guardian, he earns £500,000 a year in print royalties. Each year a new set of limited edition prints are published, and his most popular work, The Singing Butler sells more posters and postcards than any other artist in the UK. On 21 April 2004, the original canvas of The Singing Butler sold at auction for £744,500. It had been rejected in 1992 by the Royal Academy summer exhibition.
In April 2010 Seven out of ten paintings by Vettriano failed to sell at Sotheby‘s spring auction of Scottish pictures. Those that sell sold for half their previous prices. The Scotsman suggested collectors who bought his paintings as investments could be seriously out of pocket if they put their purchases back on the . open market. Of course. this was not long after the collapse of Lehmans and the grand recession.
In 2012, when stopped for drunk-driving, he was caught with drugs which he claimed were cocaine (but he had been sold Meth). Nonetheless, he was banned from driving. He is now 60.