Clara Novello Davies

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Clara Novello Davies, c. 1896

Clara Novello Davies (7 April 1861 — 7 February 1943) was a well-known Welsh singer, teacher and conductor.[1]


Clara Novello Davies was born in Cardiff to Jacob, a miner, and Margaret (née Evans) Davies and named after Clara Novello, a famous soprano (1818-1908). Her father, leader of the church choir, taught her to play the harmonium. She married David Davies, a solicitor's clerk with the same surname as her own, on 31 October 1883.

Their son, David Ivor Davies, became better known as Ivor Novello, the actor, composer, dramatist and director.[2] Their adopted daughter, who was born Marie Williams but took the name Marie Novello, was a concert pianist who died from throat cancer at the age of 30.

In 1883, Clara Novello Davies founded and conducted the Royal Welsh Ladies' Choir,[3] which won prizes at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893) and the Paris Exposition (1899). She was still conducting into her seventies when her New York-based Novello Davies Artist Choir was invited to the 1937 Paris Exposition. The choir raised funds for charity during both World Wars.[1]


Clara Novello Davies died in London in 1943, aged 81, and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Griffith, Robert David. "Clara Novello Davies". Welsh biography Online. Retrieved 12 April 1919.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ Simon Callow (August 3, 2012). "Ivor Novello, master of the musical". The Guardian. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ "The Welsh Ladies' Choir" Wilkes-Barre Times (October 17, 1895): 6. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read