Untitled paper collage by Francis Davison (1919-1984)

Untitled paper collage by Francis Davison (1919-1984)


Collaged paper on Essex board.

England, c. 1950s

Provenance: purchased directly from Margaret Mellis 1988 by friends of the artist

Davison was adopted by Eastman Kodak millionaires, George and Joan Davison, and grew up in the south of France. He studied English & Anthropology at Cambridge and was a conscientious objector during the Second World War. He was a lifelong friend of artist Patrick Heron and through him met his second wife, the artist Margaret Mellis, moving from St Ives to live with her in Davison's family chateau at Cap d'Antibes. Here, he began painting and drawing.

They moved to Suffolk in 1950, devoting themselves to farming. That year, his work was shown alongside eminent artists including Prunella Clough and Oskar Kokoschka. A couple of years later, he gave up painting and devoted the rest of his artistic career to making collages, overlaying and reassembling torn (never cut) paper to create dense and subtle pieces.

By the 1970s, his work was much acclaimed: he was included in the first British Art Show, followed a few years later by a solo exhibition at the Hayward Gallery on London's South Bank. Damien Hurst was influenced by Davison's work, saying he was "blown away" by it.


Height 86 cm / 34"
Width 73 cm / 28 "