Robin Darwin 1910-1974

Robin Darwin was a painter and highly-regarded teacher of the 20th century.


The great-grandson of Charles Darwin, Robin was born in London in 1910. His parents were the writer Bernard Darwin and engraver Elinor Monsell.  After attending Eton College and Cambridge University Darwin studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, now the art school of University College London, where he produced fine landscapes as well as portrait paintings. He also exhibited regularly at Agnews in London. Robin's sister Ursula Mommens similarly turned to the arts, studying at the Royal College of Arts under William Staite Murray before specialising in earthenware pottery.


 In 1931 Darwin entered into a short marriage with fellow artist Yvonne Darby. After their divorce, he later married Ginette Hewitt (died 2006). Robin's affiliation with the artistic milieu of the 20th century is confirmed by a charcoal portrait of him by the Group of Seven, or Algonquin School, artist Arthur Lismer.

From 1939 to 1944 Darwin worked at Ministry of Home Security and from 1945-46 at the Council of Industrial Design. Between 1948 to 1971 he worked as the appointed principal of the Royal College of Art which gained the independent university status under his direction. Robin Darwin was knighted in 1964 and died ten years later.