Anthony Devas was born in Kent and left school at sixteen to study painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, under Henry Tonks and Philip Wilson Steer. Whilst studying there he met fellow artist Nicolette Macnamara, whom he married in 1931. He initially came to public attention through his association with the Euston Road School and he had his first major exhibition at Agnew’s in 1941. In 1945 he became a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and seven years later was elected to the Royal Academy, where he exhibited regularly since 1940.
Devas is well known for his portraiture, some of his best work being his early portraits of his wife and close friends. Examples of his portrait commissions include his 1952 painting of Sir George Dyson and that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1957, for the Royal Artillery company. He is also known for his informal approach and his ability to capture children in his portraits, the demand for which was influenced by portraits of his own three children. Throughout his lifetime he held several solo exhibitions at the Cooling Gallery, Wildenstein’s, Agnew’s and Leicester Galleries. He died at his home at the age of 47.