Born 18 June 1893
Died 14 March 1959
Active: 1912 - 1959
Country of birth and death: England
Sculptor, maker of works for the film industry
Born Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Manchester. Evans commenced his art school studies in Manchester in 1912 and won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in 1914. He attended the Royal College in 1914-15 and again between 1918 and 1921, in the interval he was on three years active service (no information has yet been received about which of the armed services).
In 1923 Evans was awarded the Rome Scholarship in Sculpture and spent the next two years studying in Italy (1924-6). After returning to Britain in 1927, he obtained a solo exhibition at the Goupil Gallery (30 March-14 April 1927) of work executed whilst in Rome. This included portraits of the staff at the British School, some ideal subjects and statuettes. Evans executed to important commissions for Liverpool Cathedral, a memorial to Bishop Chavasse and the Nurses Memorial. He also made portraits of John Galsworthy, Sir Hugh Walpole and Sir Arthur Evans.
Around 1929, Evens spent some time (presumed several years) working in the United States probably commencing with two years teaching at Cranbrook Academy of Art (1929-30). In the USA he completed works for the Rockefeller Center, Radio City, Brooklyn Post Office, a bank on Wall Street, St Thomas's Church on Fifth Avenue and a memorial to 'Hicks', an early member of the American Society for the Protection of Animals. Evans also created 'Christ in Prayer' for the doorway to Christchurch, Cranbrook, Michigan (commissioned by the Cranbrook Foundation) which he considered one of the most important commissions of his career.
On his return to Britain, before the autumn of 1933, Evans continued to carry out memorials, reliefs and portraits. These included a memorial at the Reverend W. David Kelly College in Tavistock, two small sculptures of 'Science' and 'Letters' flanking one of the doorways to the central reading room of Cambridge University Library (commissioned by the architect, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, 1933-34) and panels surrounding the main entrance to County Hall, Carmarthen (building designed 1935 by Sir Percy Thomas). Evans contributed to the large-scale decorative scheme erected on the exterior of Selfridge's department store in Oxford Street to mark the coronation of George VI. He made a life-size bust of Captain Coram for the Foundling's Hospital, and a relief and six panels for a bronze door at the Methodist Missionary Society. He also restored a wood frieze for St. James's Piccadilly, made the RAF Memorial at Clement Dane Church, a wood carving for University College, London and a figure of 'Father Thames, for the Watling Street front of New Change Buildings (architect Victor Heal, 1953-60 commission by Evans executed c.1957).
However, the work for which he was best known in his lifetime was recreating the huge wooden figures of 'Gog' and 'Magog' for the Guildhall based on the originals which had been damaged during a bombing raid in 1940. The reception for the carvings was mixed (see Ward Jackson 2003). For four years, Evans worked in the film industry and his work included making a statue in plaster of Henry VIII for the Boulting Brothers film 'The Guinea Pig' (1948). He settled in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire and died there in 1959.
This record includes information submitted by Margaret Evans concerning the County Hall, Carmarthen and Steve Parlanti who supplied details of Evans' exhibition at the Goupil Gallery in 1927. There were articles about Evans published in the 'Monumental and Architectural Stone Journal', August 1937, pp. 337-9 and in 'The Studio', September 1955, pp. 76-77. Other information used in this text is derived from Evans' file in the archives of the British School at Rome.
Wealth at death: £6,907 0s. 9d.
Probate date: 6 May 1959
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Exhibitions, Meetings, Awards and other Events
Exhibited at Leeds City Art Gallery, Inaugural Exhibition of the Work of Living British Artists, 1927
Exhibited at City of Manchester Art Gallery, Exhibition of the Work of Living British Artists, 1927
Exhibited at The Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts (Summer Exhibition), 1768-
1921 - 1959
Exhibited 31 times, forty-six works (includes the posthumous showing of two sculptures in 1959)
Exhibited at Palace of Arts Empire Exhibition Scotland, 1938
Won prize Landseer Scholarships (Royal Academy of Arts), 1884-1950
Won prize The British School at Rome Scholarship in Sculpture
Institutional and Business Connections
Associate member of Royal Society of British Sculptors
13 November 1929 - 1938
Became fellow in 1938.
Fellow of Royal Society of British Sculptors
1938 - 1959
Died in 1959.
Member of Art Workers Guild
1 April 1938
Resigned, but date of resignation unknown.
Student at Manchester School of Art
Studied at Royal Academy Schools
Awarded a two second prizes and bronze medals for two models of a bust from the life, and for a set of three models of a figure from the life. Evans also won the Edward Stott second proze of £20 and a bronze medal for a model of a design, and a two year Landseer Scholarship for sculpture. See Royal Academy, 'Annual Report, 1922', (1923), pp. 36-37.
Personal and Professional Connections
Collaborated with John 'Jack' Linehan
Linehan worked with Evans on the frieze for Wandsworth Town hall
Worked with Gerald (Gerolamo) Giudici
Gerald Giudici was employed by David Evans to carve two dragons to flank the north entrance of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's new office building for the City of London Corporation which formed an extension to the Guildhall (1955-58). The carving was carried out in 1957 by Raimondo (Ray) Giudici and James Butler RA under Gerald's direction.
Catalogue of the Exhibition of the Work of Living British Artists
Cat. Nos. 383, 387, pp. 36, 39
Catalogue of the Inaugural Exhibition of the Work of Living British Artists, Leeds City Art Gallery 1927
Cat. Nos. 332, 333, pp. 23, 26
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966
Name: David Evans Probate Date: 6 May 1959 Registry: Peterborough Death Date: 14 Mar 1959 Death Place: Hertfordshire, Hertford, England
Public Sculpture of the City of London Public Sculpture of Britain Volume Five
pp. 183-5 and 287-9
The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985
The Times, Monday, Mar 16, 1959; pg. 14; Issue 54410; col A Mr. David Evans A School Of Rome "Modernist" Category: Obituaries
The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985
The Times (London, England), Monday, Mar 16, 1959; pg. 14; Issue 54410. (508 words) Category: Obituaries
Citing this record
'David Evans', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011 [http://sculpture.gla.ac.uk/view/person.php?id=msib2_1222431821, accessed 30 Apr 2017]