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DEATHS OF TAYLOR AND STRICKLAND (article first published : 2000-08-15)

The KZN arts world recently lost two well-known artists through the deaths of artist and musician Roy Taylor and artist Tony Strickland. This tribute is penned by friend and colleague, artist John Smith.

“Roy Taylor played clarinet for the navy band and served in Egypt and Italy during World War II. After he was de-mobbed he came back to South Africa where he formed and played in a number of dance bands all over the country. In 1952 he decided to give up music and pursue a career in painting and was hugely successful.

For 30 years he lived and worked in Westville, painting oils of the Natal Coastline and the ‘Berg’ and gathering a loyal following of private and corporate collectors. He loved Natal and was very positive about the future of South Africa and was always very concerned about his fellow artists. On more than one occasion I witnessed him buying paintings of fellow artists because he knew they were going through difficult times. He once gave R5,000 to a Cape Town artist because he couldn’t bear the thought of the man not being able to buy materials. He hardly knew the man.

Roy was very private, very intelligent, loved music, loved this country and loved being an artist. He is gone, but his gentle pastel coloured oils will live on and be treasured for years to come.

Tony Strickland was also a very private person and an artist of great talent. His paintings and drawings were superb. He also had a hand in teaching a number of people who have gone on to become well-known artists in their own right.

Tony Blackman-Strickland was his painting name which I understand was his mother’s maiden name. He also had an illustrious military career before he came to South Africa and carved a career in the art world. He was a captain with Wingate’s famous “Chindits” in Burma and many stories are told - and books written - about that group of very brave men. He painted and drew mainly the people around him and, like Roy Taylor, his paintings will be treasured for many years to come.

KZN and the rest of South Africa are very much poorer for their passing. Here is a definite case of two men, two artists who left the world richer for their being here.”




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