Roy Turner Durrant
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|Roy Turner Durrant|
Artist at work March 1954
October 4, 1925 |
Lavenham, Suffolk, England
Roy Turner Durrant (1925–1998) was a 20th-century English abstract artist. He was born in Lavenham, Suffolk, England on 4 October 1925. He had a love of drawing from an early age which continued as a driving force throughout his life. His lifelong motto (which he inscribed on the fly leaf of many a volume of his childhood library) was "ars longa, vita brevis" "art is never ending, life is short" which he may have first seen in the bell tower of Lavenham Church, and following his wish was also inscribed on his tombstone in Lavenham Churchyard.
He had a picture exhibited at Bury St Edmunds while still at school and his drawings were currency for him at school when he swapped them with class mates for cigarette cards and other items. He had his first One Man Exhibition in 1948 at the Guildhall, Lavenham.
He left school at 14 years of age but continued to spend his spare time drawing and painting. He worked in a local electrical shop and during the war Durrant joined the Suffolk Regiment (1944 to 1947). After the war he secured a place at Camberwell College of Arts where he was taught by amongst others by Edward Ardizzone Michael Rothenstein Keith Vaughan and John Buckland Wright. and was a contemporary of Theodore Mendez. Whilst at Camberwell he was already exhibiting his paintings in London galleries. His work moved from early landscape and architectural interest to abstraction but with a great variety of style and technique.
In 1963 he moved to Cambridge to take up the post of Art Gallery Manager at Heffers at the time a well known local artists' materials and book sellers. He continued his vocation of painting in his days off, spending his evenings reading (mainly 19th- and 20th-century literature, theological works and poetry) or listening to the radio (especially classical music, radio plays and religious programmes on Radio 3 or 4).
Durrant published a book of poetry "A Rag Book of Love" in 1960  A self-portrait of the artist is included in the Tate Gallery Archive Collection TGA 8214.26 (1953 poster paint on paper, exhibited at Artists' International Association Gallery in 1950s)
He exhibited frequently throughout his life, holding numerous one man exhibitions not only in London but also nationally. He frequently had works included in the annual Royal Academy London Summer Exhibitions.
His works have been collected by public galleries, universities and colleges worldwide and interest in his work both in Britain and overseas has continued since his death in 1998. There have been several retrospective exhibitions of Durrant's work since his death, including a one-man show at the Fine Art Society in New Bond Street London in May 2008. A book about Durrant ("Roy Turner Durrant (1925–1998)" ) was published in September 2011.