GOVIER, James Henry

1910 - 1974

James Govier

Born at Oakley, Thame, Buckinghamshire on 1 August 1910, second child of Henry [Harry] Govier, a horse breeder and smallholder farmer, and his wife Mary Anne née Measey, who married at Thame, Oxfordshire in 1908. In 1914 the family moved to the small town of Gorseinon in Gower near Swansea, where James was educated at the local school. He left school aged 14, to work in one of the local tin works and aged 17, became an evening student at the Swansea School of Art and Crafts gaining a Glamorgan County Scholarship to study full-time at the school 1930-1935, under William Grant Murray (1887-1950). He also studied at the Royal College of Art 1935-1940 under Malcolm Osborne (1880-1963) and Robert Austin (1895-1973). Painter, printmaker and teacher, a traditionlist who disliked commercialism and modern influences. In Wales and in London both Augustus John and Dylan Thomas were friends of Govier and he had his portrait drawn by Alfred Janes and Colin Moss [q.v.] also produced a pencil portrait of him. In 1938 elected an Associate of the Royal College of Arts together with a travelling scholarship but the Second World War intervened. He served in the Royal Air Force making models for the 'Dam Buster' raids, D-Day landing craft, &c. In 1935 he exhibited with past students of Swansea at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea and after demobilised in 1945 commenced exhibiting with the Aylesbury and District Art Society also at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. In 1947 he became art master at Eye Grammar School, Suffolk living in Eye until his marriage to Freda Muriel Tye in 1950, when they moved to the nearby Hoxne. A student at Ipswich Art School specialising as a commercial display artist and a member of the Ipswich Art Club 1949-1962, exhibiting from Rose Cottage, Denham, Suffolk in 1950 two oils 'Landscape Sketch' and 'April' and a watercolour 'Country Lane'. He married in the Hartismer district of Suffolk in 1950, Freda Muriel Tye (1930-1982), and they had two children Jane and Stephen [q.v.]. James died at Hoxne on 21 December 1974. A major exhibition of his work was held at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich in 1993. The largest collections of his work can be found within The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Buckinghamshire County Museum, Ipswich Museums, the V&A, National Library of Wales, the National Portrait Gallery and the Norwich Castle Museum.

His listing in the Art Club Catalogue is incorrectly given as J. G. Gover, ARCA.




Works by This Painter