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Roald Dahl

1 of 6 portraits of Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl, by Sir Matthew Arnold Bracy Smith, circa 1944 - NPG L255 - © the Estate of Sir Matthew Bracy Smith

© the Estate of Sir Matthew Bracy Smith

Roald Dahl

by Sir Matthew Arnold Bracy Smith
oil on canvas, circa 1944
40 1/8 in. x 26 1/4 in. (1020 mm x 668 mm)
Lent by The Dahl Family, 2013
Primary Collection
NPG L255


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  • Roald Dahl (1916-1990), Writer. Sitter in 6 portraits.

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This portrait shows Dahl as a young RAF pilot during World War II. It was painted in two or three sittings, during which Smith worked with 'frenzied activity'. The portrait resulted from Dahl's admiration for the artist, whose work he had seen in a London gallery. Dahl tracked the artist to his lodgings and made a powerful impression on Smith, who was living reclusively and grieving for his two sons, Mark and Dermot, both of whom had recently lost their lives in the RAF. The artist and writer became lifelong friends.

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