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G. H. Davis

G. H. Davis, ILN diagrammatic artist

George Horace Davis (1881-1963), British artist who signed his pictures G.H. Davis

George Horace Davis was born on 8 May 1881 in Kensington, London, and educated at Kensington Park College and Ealing School of Art.

He worked as a freelance artist and during the First World War served with distinction with the Royal Flying Corps (later the Royal Air Force), using his experience to create portrayals of aerial combat, a number of which were published in The Sphere.

He is best known as a “special artist” for The Illustrated London News for whom he began to work in 1923. His first drawing, a visual explanation of the use of wireless in small boats, reflected his speciality, which was in creating diagrammatic drawings that educated and informed readers of advances in science, technology, transport and warfare.

Aside from this, he created fascinating cutaway drawings of buildings such as 10 Downing Street, the Savoy Hotel, Westminster Abbey and even the new reptile house at London Zoo. The scope and detail of his work is utterly without peer.

It is estimated that in the 40 years he worked at ILN, his full-page and double-page illustrations occupied around 2,500 pages of the paper, each one painstakingly researched and requiring an informed understanding of his subject, whether it was a V2 rocket during the Second World War, or the interior of the Queen Mary ocean liner.

George Davis continued to work into his eighties. At the time of his death in late 1963, the ILN had a number of his recently completed drawings in the office, awaiting publication.