•ADRIAN DAINTREY, R.W.A. (1902-1988)
signed and titled l.l., signed in pencil l.r.
watercolour and pen
33.5 x 39cm / 13.0 x 15.3in
Adrian Maurice Daintrey, was born in Tooting and brought up in Wimbledon. He went from Charterhouse to the Slade School of Art. Here he chafed somewhat under Henry Tonks, then drawing master. Encouraged by Wilson Steer to study the Old Masters, he began to visit the National Gallery to paint, making friends with Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant on these visits. He befriended Augustus John, who he had bumped into and enquired if he might see his studio. He became friends with the Slade legend, and soon was a regular drinking companion of his at the Cafe Royal.
His wartime career was varied, and took him from England to Iran, and Italy to Egypt. In each place he went, he took the opportunity to paint where he could, eventually being drafted into the Camouflage Corps.
Finding himself out of favour with gallerists after the war, he took to exhibiting in his Chelsea flat. Here, given his widespread popularity with fellow artists and with critics, he found success. During this time he shared a flat with Donald Maclean - in his memoirs he stated that he merely found the spy's politics odd - and came to be close friends with Matthew Bell.
Daintrey's memoirs, I Must Say (1963) are a remarkable record of the more personal side of some of Britain's most renowned artists, with whom he had spent many an evening dining or drinking. Sir John Betjeman was to place Daintrey in "the great tradition of London from Thackeray and Sir John Leech to Max Beerbohm and Osbert Lancaster".
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