roy turner durrant head drawing
1962, mixed media, 20cm x 25cm


Roy Turner Durrant was an artist and poet, born in Suffolk, England. After a childhood addiction to drawing aeroplanes, he did war service in the Army, then attended Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, 1948-52, being influenced by Keith Vaughan and John Minton. In the 1950’s he developed from figuration to abstraction and said that any titles on his pictures were “meant to be interpreted as poetry, to engender a state of mind rather than describe exactly what the particular picture is.”

He was influenced by European abstractionists and by English poetry, such as that of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Thomas Hardy, also by the work of James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Dylan Thomas. As well as painting, Durrant was employed in administrative work at Vickers from 1956-63 and was a director of the Heffer Gallery, Cambridge, 1963-76.

Durrant showed with Free Painters and Sculptors, of which he was a fellow, and with NEAC, of which he was a member, and quite often with RA from 1950. After a solo show at Guildhall, Lavenham in 1948, he showed regularly at Loggia Gallery, Gallery of British Art in Lausanne and Belgrave Gallery in 1991. Roy Turner Durrant, Painter and Poet, was held at Chappel Galleries, Chappel, in 2003. Several dozen public collections hold his work, including Imperial War Museum, Bradford City Art Gallery and Balliol College, Oxford.

He began to sculpt in bronze in the early 1950’s, receiving some advice from Henry Moore and visited Cumae in 1956-7 and Greece in 1958, turning to Greek myth as his principal source of inspiration particularly the legends of Daedelus and Icarus, the Minotaur and the image of the maze. His powerful style sought to reinterpret mythological ideas in terms of the figure.