DAVIES, Roland Oxford

1904 - 1993

Born at Stourport, Worcestershire on 22 July 1904, son of Sydney Davies, a theatre musical director, and his wife Maud Louise. In 1911, a 6 year old student living at 11 St John's Street, Scarborough with his parents, 58 year old Sydey, born at Skipton, and 40 year old Maud, born at Ipswich, with his sibling brother 2 year old Sydney, who was also born at Ipswich. At the age of 13 Roland attended Ipswich School of Art for four years, the first two being part-time but on leaving Ipswich, became apprenticed to a company of litho-printers at West Drayton, Middlesex, designing cinema and other posters. As a freelance made cartoons for 'Motor Cycle News' and 'Autocar' magazines and created his plodding carthorse cartoon strip 'Come on Steve' for the 'Sunday Express' from 1932-1939 then in the 'Sunday Dispatch' and developed a career in drawing for other newspapers and children's comics including the 'Beano' which began in July 1938. Davies drew a tough-guy sheriff, 'Whoopee Hank', and 'Contrary Mary the Moke', a long-eared donkey who was clearly a close relation to Steve. His mainline comic work started in 1949 with the weekly serial of 'Sexton Blake', the famous boys' paper detective, in 'Knockout'. The success of carthorse Steve encouraged Davies to produce a cartoon film and showed his, film to Butcher's, a minor distributor of B-pictures, who gave him a contract for six eight-minute cartoons at 800 each and with finance from his father-in-law, Davies set up an animation studio in Ipswich, staffed by students from the Art School and headed by one professional animator, the young Carl Giles [q.v.]. One by one the six cartoons were made, this time complete with a signature tune composed by John Reynders, whose orchestra supplied the music track and sound effects. 'Steve Steps Out' was the first, released in December 1936, and a children's book-of-the-film was published by Collins. After working for the Ministry of Defence during the Second World War about 1970 he turned to painting in oil, creating London street scenes, marine and cowboy pictures. He exhibited at Tibbenham's Gallery, Brook Street, Ipswich in 1943 'End of a Messerschmitt' also exhibiting at the Royal Society of British Artists and at the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Grvers/Royal Mail Steamer. A member and exhibitor at Ipswich Art Club 1943-1953 but had exhibited from 16 Providence Street, Ipswich in 1923 an oil painting 'Morning, Windsor Street, Uxbridge'. In 1941 he exhibited two works 'Outward Bound in Daylight Raid' and 'Foggy Afternoon; Pre-war London', in 1942 'Ballerina', in 1943 'Servicing a Fortress' and 'Night Ploughing' and in 1944 'Still Night'. He married at Ipswich in 1930, Dorothy Coller [q.v.] and died at Ealing, London on 10 December 1993.




Works by This Painter