January 17, 1925 - June 21, 2002
Born in Devon, England, Roy was the eldest of four children. From an early age, his main interest was drawing and painting, which was recognized at an early age when he won a scholarship to the Bristol College of Art at age 11.
Roy served three years in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and saw much of the world. To further his travel interests, Roy was one of a four man party from the U.K. that traveled to Canada in 1948 to carry out a three year adventure of Norrth America. In order to finance such travel, the four had to obtain casual employment along the way. Two of the foursome secured such financially rewarding employment that they made the decision to leave the party. Roy and Monty Alford, the latter a surveyor, continued their original objectives, reaching the Yukon and Alaska. It was during the second year, while surveying in the Yukon, that they made plans for the third and final year of their travels. This was a journey through the United States. Their diagonal crossing of the U.S., from northwest to southeast, was made by water because it was by canoe that North America was first explored, mostly by those in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Company in search of furs for the markets in England and Europe. They purchased an 18 foot canvas covered, cedar canoe, and on the 16th of March, 1950, put in on the upper reaches of the Columbia River where Roy served as bowman. They traveled the Columbia River across the U.S. border, down to Pasco, Washington, where they turned up the roaring Snake River towards Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Navigation of the Snake River was by far the most difficult part of their journey. It was a two month long fight against a wild river with rapid after rapid to negotiate. Historically speaking, it is most likely the only time the river had been navigated by a powered canoe against its fast and turbulent current. They pulled their canoe out of the water of the Snake at Idaho Falls and portaged across the Continental Divide using a 1930 Chevrolet to Casper, Wyoming, where they launched on to the North Platte River. It was in the course of that portage that they passed, or ran alongside such rivers as the Hoback and Clearwater. The river today would not be recognizable as the same one Roy and Monty navigated. They had to portage five hydropower dams compared with the 15 in existence today. They continued on to the Middle Loup, Loup, South Platte, Platte, Missouri, and finally on to the giant Mississippi, finishing up at Baton Rouge with a final destination in New Orleans. Their journey was not only documented in many newspapers along the way, but Monty also submitted articles that were published back home in England. As a result of the publicity, they found themselves being greeted and welcomed into many towns and homes along the way. Their journey took exactly 8 months, terminating on November 16, 1950. It was during this journey that Roy became acutely aware of the experiences of the Pioneers, moving him deeply and subsequently becoming the subject of many of his paintings. The book he authored and illustrated, A Pictorial Story of the Oregon-California Trail was published in 1996, and was made possible by Harry Cornell, Chairman and CEO of Leggett & Platt, and his wife, Ann. The book is the result of research done over a span of six years, after traveling the entire Oregon-California Trail with his wife, Betty.
Roy worked in both oil and watercolor mediums. Some of his first professional work was as a freelance commercial artist, and then as an advanced space concept artist for the Martin Marietta Corporation in Denver. He was best known for his paintings of the Tetons and Historical scenes depicting the settling of the West to include Native American Indians, Mountain Men and/or Pioneers. He also painted the many areas he resided in: Colorado, Arizona, California, New York, Montana, and Europe. He loved to write poetry, and tried his hand at sculpting with his one bronze titled "Early Warning System".
The Rogues Gallery consists of a group of 8x10 oils on canvas depicting ranchers, politicians and other well-known local figures in the Jackson Hole area. Roy kept adding portraits on the wall over a few decades. The paintings were first displayed at the Elk Horn Cafe, and subsequently at LeeJays Sportsman's Cafe. The Rogues Gallery was donated at his request, by his estate, to the Jackson Hole Historical Society upon his death. http://www.jacksonholehistory.org/
Roy participated in many art shows throughout his career, and was one of a handful of artists to be invited each year to the Wyoming Governor's Invitational Art Show, held at the Cheyenne Frontier Days - Old West Museum since its inception in 1981. Most recently, a Retrospective Art Show was held at the Old West Museum November 5, 2010 thru February 15, 2011.
A few collectors of Roy's paintings include:
President George Bush
President Ronald Reagan
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Sec. Eduard Shevardnadze, USSR
Jefferson National Expansion Historical Association
U.S. Department of the Interior
Teton National Park Historical Collection
Wyoming State Art Gallery, Cheyenne, Wyoming
Nicolaysen Museum, Casper, Wyoming
15 Western State Governors
Denver Public Library, Colorado
Leanin' Tree Museum, Colorado
Lawrence D. Rockefeller
Senator Barry Goldwater
Senator John Wold
Senator Cliff Hanson
Dick Van Dyke
Chasens Restaurant, Los Angeles, California
Leggett and Platt, Carthage, Missouri
Mountain Man Museum, Pinedale, Wyoming
Governor Mike Sullivan, Wyoming
Governor Ed Herschler, Wyoming
He said of himself: "I paint with the same need as I eat. I paint because it is an adventure into something strange and beautiful. I paint because it is pleasurable like smelling the rain, touching a child, loving a woman, singing to the wind or listening to the hushed roar of the wind in the forest. As I strive to reach and understand this thing, I become attuned or embued with something very beautiful, and it is this exciting sensation which drives me on. I suppose I'm addicted to painting, to this inner urge to create and communicate."