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Ralph Maynard Smith
(1904 — 1964)

Ralph Maynard Smith was a British artist and architect. Born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1904, Maynard Smith spent much of his childhood travelling between South Africa and his parents’ native land of England. In 1920 Maynard Smith relocated to London, where he studied at the Architectural Association in London until the year 1925. During this time Maynard Smith began to explore much of the Scottish islands Mull and Iona on foot, spending six weeks traversing the wild landscape which proved a great Romantic inspiration for his work as an artist and a writer. Such was his enjoyment of painting and drawing, in the mid-1920s Maynard Smith began to attend evening classes at the Heatherly School of Fine Art upon completing his studies at the Architectural Association. He continued to pursue a career as an architect, and in 1927 Maynard Smith was elected Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects.


Whilst experiencing success in his professional career as an architect, the artistic output of Maynard Smith also flourished. In the early 1930s the artist began to move away from his previous focus on Romantic landscapes in order to develop a more Surrealist mode of representing the landscape of Britain. During the Second World War, the artist aided both the Civil Defence and Home Guard by dedicating time to completing architectural projects for hospitals and other wartime buildings. Perhaps in response to the War, Maynard Smith’s painted works exhibited a much darker mood in the 1940s. His artistic maturity, marked by an accomplished technique of presenting Surrealist landscapes, came in the mid-1940s. He continued to excel as an architect throughout this time, and completed commissions to design and build the Hatfield Technical College (now the University of Hertfordshire), the Bank of England Printing Works and the Shell Centre, London in the 1950s to early 1960s. Maynard Smith died in 1964. His work remains in the collections of the University of Hertfordshire and the Fitzwilliam Museum.