THE RALPH MAYNARD SMITH TRUST___ ( Registered Charity Number : 1049843 )
Set up in 1995 to preserve and make known the works of the artist, writer and architect

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Updated July 2017

Shadows Shadows



If thy light If thy light If thy light If thy light If thy light
1. "Shadows,Shadows". 1949. Watercolour 5.625" x 7.5". K1097.00   2. "If thy Light be Darkness, How Great is the Darkness". 1951. Watercolour.
5.375" x 6.875". K1286.00

The “RMS Archive Collection  (Drawings and Paintings)

The “RMS Archive Collection (Drawings and Paintings)” will be an authoritative archive for the further research, study and enjoyment of the work of this artist. It will consist of all Maynard Smith’s work held by the Trust, except for those items that have been sold or donated to museums, or are being retained for a reserve Trust collection of maybe 50 items, which will be available for loan exhibitions to suitable galleries and museums (see “Work in Progress” page).

The residue of the artist’s son’s separate personal collection may be sold in order to fund the ‘RMS Bequest’ (see “RMS Trust & Database” page).

  Forms on a Ledge Forms on a Ledge
  3. "Forms on a Ledge by the Sea" 1949. Watercolour. 6.875" x 10.25". K1136.00
1. The collection of drawings and paintings described above.
2. “Free Is the Prospect Here”, the large manuscript book of drawings which is probably the single most important item in the Collection. It contains 65 watercolours, and drawings (see illustrations nos. 1-5 and 13 on this page).
3. The “Raw Material” sketchbook, containing 85 drawings, which is of similar importance .
4. Some smaller, slim paperback illustrated manuscript books (see “Writings” page).
5. A Database & Catalogue Raisonné of the Drawings and Paintings. At present these exist in text-only versions.
For definitions of the terms used here and elsewhere to describe the different parts of the overall RMS Collection, please go to “RMS Trust & Database” page.

  Linear Heritage Linear Heritage
  4. “Linear Heritage, or After Days”. 1952. Watercolour. 6.625" x 10.875". K1324.00.
When finalising the contents of the Archive in precise terms, it will be important to represent the balance between the main stages of development in the artist’s work. This balance can best be guaged by the chronologically arranged drawings and paintings on the “Gallery” page, augmented by those appearing elsewhere on this website.  

Examples of drawings and paintings, writings and architectural studies to illustrate this website, have been selected from the complete oeuvre as it was originally held in the “RMS Collection”, before the dispersal of some items due to sales and placements.

One of the RMS Trust’s objectives, listed on the “Work in Progress” page, is to produce an illustrated version of its database. Once that comprehensive visual documentation is available, an opportunity will arise to scrutinise the development of a 20th century British artist in unusually minute detail.  At the very start of cataloguing the “RMS Collection”, it was pointed out to the Trust that recording its every detail was a chance not to be missed, because it was extremely rare for an artist’s complete life’s work to be found all together and indisturbed, as was the case with Maynard Smith.

  Surfaces Floating Surfaces foothills
  5. “Surfaces Floating among Foothills”. Watercolour. 1950.  5" x 8". K1213.00


Surrey Landscape Fallen Tree
6. Surrey Landscape. 1941. Oil on paper. 9" x 12.625". K572.00 7. Fallen Tree. 1946. Watercolour and pencil. 7" x 9". K872.00

Frances Carey, writing about Maynard Smith’s London exhibition “The Barrier Beyond : Record of a Secret Artist”, ended her Introduction as follows:

"The true significance of Maynard Smith’s output as an ‘imaginative artist’ goes beyond the mere adumbration of sources and influences. His ambition to shape a separate identity through his painting, drawing, reading and writing, in the face of public obligation and private depression, was like Jacob wrestling with the angel. In 1947 he gave his son Geoffrey Grigson’s recently published book on ‘Samuel Palmer: The Visionary Years’, in which one particular quotation from Palmer had a special resonance for him: ‘If my aspirations are very high, my depressions are very deep, yet my pinions never loved the middle air: yea I will surrender to be shut up among the dead, or in the prison of the deep, so that I may sometimes bound upwards, pierce the clouds, and look over the doors of bliss’”


The Barrier Beyond Surrey Landscape 1938
8. The Barrier Beyond. 1949, Pen and ink with watercolour.
5" x 8.5 ". K1110.00
9. Surrey Landscape. 1938. Oil on paper. 3.375" x 5.75". K485.00

Those considering the placement of this Archive will find that the storage space required is smaller than one might think. For instance, the nucleus of the  collection, the Drawings and Watercolours, after being window-mounted or given card supports are stored in portfolios measuring 20 x 24 inches, or smaller. They can be contained in a shelf length of approximately four feet. The sketchbooks and Writings will take up comparatively little space, and the storage of key paintings and framed works will be decided during discussions to be held at the time of the placement.

The completed text-only Database & Catalogue Raisonné of the Drawings and Paintings is an integral part of the Archive, listing 2,052 items. The RMS Trust plans to enhance this database in two ways:  a). By introducing illustrations throughout (as described above in ’Illustrating the Database’), and  b). By extending the present Database  / Catalogue Raisonné to include the ancillary archives of Writings and Architecture.

If the Archive as a whole has to be divided into its constituent parts in order to find safe havens, each location would be furnished with a copy of the database. Therefore, enhancing the Database to include the Writings and Architecture will mean that  RMS’s unusual inter-disciplinary achievements may be properly studied and understood, from whichever archive location they are viewed, At that stage, the whole database would be ready to put on-line by the host institution(s).

Path Intimate Obstructed
10. "Path Intimate Obstructed". 1958. Watercolour. 4.75" x 7". K1520.00  
Figures Hastening Figures Hastening to Cove  
The Trust is now planning ahead, as the premises and services on which it presently relies can no longer be guaranteed. Similarly as regards storage, which although handled quite separately is equally under threat, and like the RMS Trust's premises themselves can no longer be relied on as a secure resource. The development of the Archive and Database described on this Website has been part of a long-term strategy to ensure the continued care of and access to Maynard Smith’s work. This Archive will be offered as a gift to an appropriate Arts Institute or University. Mechanisms are being explored whereby the gift of the Archive would be accompanied by a financial bequest, benefitting the host institution(s). Linked with the Archive, this would form “The RMS Bequest”.

As regards the RMS Trust Bequest:  because the Archive is to be funded by a provision of income that is testamentary, that income is not available to support ongoing work now, which proceeds slowly without the help of external funding.

11. Figures Hastening Down to Cove of the Spiritual Lighthouse. 1953. Pen & ink with watercolour/inkwash. 11 x 15”. K1363.00.
If you wish to discuss the placing of “The RMS Archive” or to support the projects explained in “Work in Progress” please go to “Contact Us”
Districts of My Kingdom   The Moon Descending
12. “Districts of My Kingdom  No.1”. c.1950.  Oil on ply panel.  8.5 x 14.5”. K1183.00.   13. “The Moon Descending”. 1949. Watercolour with pen & ink. 4 x  6.5”  K1115.00.

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Path Intimate Obstructed Surrey Landscape Fallen Tree Barrier Beyond Surrey Landscape 1938 Districts of my Kingdom Moon Descending