ROY TURNER DURRANT (British 1925-1998)
Signed, dated 1957 and inscribed 5CR175
ROY TURNER DURRANT (1925-1998)
Born in Lavenham, Suffolk, Durrant began drawing at the age of five and exhibited his first picture in Bury St.Edmunds aged twelve. Fascinated with flying he recorded aircrafts meticulously in his early drawing books and later became a member of the Air Training Corps Squadron. However, he was conscripted into the army to spend war service with the Suffolk Regiment until 1947.
From 1948 to 1952 he studied at the Camberwell School of Art, London, where Durrant was inspired by tutors such as Keith Vaughan and John Minton and the neo-Romantic movement of which they were both an instrumental part. In 1948 Durrant had his first solo show at the Guildhall, Lavenham. Durrant was something of a recluse, he was elected to the New English Arts Club by members who had never seen him and never would. He did not attend his own exhibitions, or those of others, although influenced by his contemporaries he declared himself to be more of an instinctive painter, who just ‘looked at nature, at women and God’s wonderful world’.
Durrant exhibited regularly throughout his life, including at the Royal Academy, the Loggia Gallery, London and other commercial galleries in London, Suffolk and Cambridge, amassing over 38 one-man exhibitions. He moved to Cambridge in 1959 and managed the Heffer Art Gallery until 1976 to subsidise his painting. Durrant shifted from his neo-Romantic early style towards abstraction and the simplification of forms. He utilised strong and organic elements to capture his beloved Suffolk landscape, eschewing representation. His natural sense of design, he gained a National Diploma in Design at Camberwell, began to feature prominently within his works from this period onwards.
Despite his reclusive nature, Durrant empathised with his fellow artists and on their deaths he often wrote a tribute to them. Durrant preferred to express himself through painting, drawing and writing and in 1960 a book of his poems, A Rag Book of Love, was published.
Durrant died in Cambridge in 1998. His work is held in numerous private collections and public collections such as the Tate Gallery, London, Kettles Yard, Cambridge, Southampton Art Gallery and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
Ink, gouache and watercolour
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