Rhys Davies

Illustration © The Estate of John David Roberts. Reproduced with the permission of the William Roberts Society. Catalogue information based on the catalogue raisonné by David Cleall. For this and full details of the exhibitions cited, see the links below. Any auction prices quoted may not include all fees and taxes, such as VAT and Artist's Resale Right charges.

Rhys Davies

Rhys Davies, 1926
Pencil, 31.7 cm x 19.1 cm

The novelist and short-story writer Rhys Davies (1901–1978) was born near Tonypandy in a coal-mining area of Glamorgan, the fourth of six children of a grocer and a teacher. He left school aged fourteen and for the next five years worked in his father's shop, while reading avidly – especially the French and Russian classics. His homosexuality made him feel uncomfortable in the male-dominated society of the Rhondda valley, and after living in Cardiff for a while he moved to London. His first published stories appeared in New Coterie no. 2 (spring 1926), with this frontispiece illustration by Roberts, which was again used as a frontispiece when they were reprinted, with others, in The Song of Songs and Other Stories (London: E. Archer, 1927). Roberts also drew the cover for Davies's first novel, The Withered Root. As well as other novels and short stories, Davies published an autobiography, Print of a Hare's Foot (1969), in which he describes a visit made in 1927 to the German birthplace of his publisher, Charles Lahr, by a party which included Roberts, Davies and the writer H. E. Bates, as well as Lahr himself. (See The Prodigal Sets Out 1927–8.)
PROVENANCE: Wyndham T. Vint > ? > Christie's 23 Mar. 2011 (£3,000) > Stephen Ongpin Fine Art > the Rhys Davies Trust
EXHIBITION HISTORY: Perth 1936, Cheltenham 1937, Plymouth 1938, Hull 1956, City of Bradford Art Gallery (date unknown)

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