First Previous 1 OF 6 NextLast

Roald Dahl

1 of 6 portraits of Roald Dahl

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

© the Estate of Sir Matthew Bracy Smith

Roald Dahl

by Sir Matthew 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


Click on the links below to find out more:

Share this

Sitterback to top

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

Artistback to top

  • Sir Matthew Smith (1879-1959), Painter. Artist of 4 portraits, Sitter in 6 portraits.

This portraitback to top

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.

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1944back to top

Current affairs

London is hit by the V1 Flying Bomb. This weapon, developed by the German Luftwaffe and colloquially known as the 'Buzz Bomb', or 'Doodlebug', was the first guided missile and was used for attacks on targets in England and Belgium.

Art and science

Laurence Olivier's epic film version of Henry V is released. Olivier directed and starred in the film, which was partly funded by the British government in recognition of its morale-boosting patriotic appeal. The cast included service men as Henry's army.

International

France is liberated from German-occupation following the Battle for Normandy. Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of occupied-France led by Field Marshall Montgomery, was the largest seaborne invasion in history, involving almost three million soldiers crossing the channel from England to France. Troops landed on the 6th June (D-Day), and Paris was liberated in late August.

Tell us moreback to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your nameclose

If you tick permission to publish your name will appear above your contribution on our website.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.