Sophie Gurney

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Sophie Jane Gurney (née Raverat, first married name Pryor; 20 December 1919 – 10 June 2011) was an English artist, linked to many of the leading intellectual and cultural figures of the early 20th century.[1]

Gurney was born in 1919, the younger daughter of the French painter Jacques Raverat and his English wife Gwen (née Darwin). Through her mother she was a great-granddaughter of the naturalist Charles Darwin. Her father died in 1925 when she was only five years old, and she and her elder sister Elisabeth were temporarily taken into the care of her first cousin once removed Nora Barlow and her husband Alan.

Sophie married the entomologist Mark Pryor in 1940; they had four children.[2] Emily (1942–2008), William (born 1945), Lucy (born 1948) and Nelly (born 1952), who married the film director/farmer Philip Trevelyan.

Mark and Sophie Pryor were involved in a road traffic accident in 1967, in which she was relatively unharmed but which left him with brain damage in a persistent vegetative state for almost three years until his death in 1970, aged 51. She also had to deal with her son William's heroin addiction.[3] She subsequently remarried Henry Charles Horton Gurney OBE[4] (1913–1997, known as Charles), professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Hong Kong (1966-1973),[5] who had been Mark's boss at RAE Farnborough. On his retirement, they moved to Totnes, Devon, where Sophie became a member of the 21 Group of artists.


  1. ^ "Sophie Gurney". The Daily Telegraph. 16 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry: Pryor of Weston
  3. ^ Willam Pryor (2003). The Survival of the Coolest:A Great-grandson of Charles Darwin's Death Defying Journey into the Interior of Heroin Addiction in the 60s and Back out Again. 
  4. ^
  5. ^