Denis Curry: Artist and Sculptor

We are reproducing part of the catalogue for the current Denis Curry exhibition at The Gallery – Yr Oriel, Newport, which, because of the coronavirus lockdown, had to be online this year. Images have been taken from the website.

Artist Denis Curry

If there is one artist in Wales and the UK whose artistic pursuit has, throughout his prolific life, centred on flight, it is Denis Curry, who combines a “profound knowledge of nature’s engineering structure with poetic vision”.

An exceptional draughtsman, painter and sculptor, he has integrated aesthetics, aeronautics and natural sciences as processes in his work. After two years at Durham School of Architecture and at the end of the war, he went to the Slade School where teachers included William Coldstream (principal), Reg Butler, Henry Moore and Professor A H Gerrard. He won prizes for drawing and sculpture, including a fourth, postgraduate year.

Does the eagle know?

Denis Curry worked with Professor Gerrard on many sculpture projects, designing and carving, including the summer house at Chartwell and the Onassis tomb at Hendon Cemetery. 

He went to Exeter College of Art as head of sculpture and worked with Cliff Fishwick (principal) and John Epstein to successfully win the fine art degree for the college. He was then invited to join the staff of the West of England College of Art to help them gain the degree on their second try.

Full fathom five

Curry was then appointed as head of foundation studies where he stayed for 16 years, resigning to do his own sculpture and painting. His life’s work on a human-powered ornithopter is ongoing and his research into bird/insect flight is often used in his sculpture and drawings.

In 1967 he was granted the first patent for a variable-geometry ornithopter. A paper on the propulsion of an ornithopter by Curry was published by the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1975, and he was elected an associate.

He has exhibited at the Royal Academy; London Group; National Eisteddfod; Pelter/Sands Bristol; Richard Beere Cardiff; West Wales Arts Centre; Oriel Myrddin; and Museum of Modern Art, Machynlleth.

He exhibited regularly at the Royal Cambrian Academy of which he was invited to become a member by Kyffin Williams in 1992; and also at the Royal West of England Academy, where he was invited to become an honorary academician in 2008.


The Contemporary Arts Society of Wales bought his work in 1999 and in 2010. Tenby Museum and Art Gallery was successful in its bid for the loan of the two works (bronze and a drawing) purchased by CASW in 2010. He has completed large-scale bronzes on commission of swans, eagles and horses. 

Eagle in take-off.

Denis was born in 1918, and continues to sketch and work from home, surrounded by his sculptures and artwork; he is a remarkable individual, a renowned and established British artist whose work has been exhibited in prestigious venues in his own lifetime.

The Gallery Yr Oriel Newport, Pembrokeshire

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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