Sculptor and carver, born in Manchester. He entered Manchester School of Art in 1912 and won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in 1914. From 1915 to 1918, he was on active service in the First World War, but following demobilisation returned to the RCA, where Francis Derwent Wood was among his teachers. He completed his course in 1921 and went on to the RA Schools (1922–27), where in 1922 he won the Landseer Prize and in 1923, the Prix de Rome. He was at the British School at Rome, 1924–26, and showed the work executed there in his first solo exhibition, at the Goupil Gallery, 1927. He showed at the RA, 1921–59. He worked in the USA for some years, beginning with two years, 1929–30, teaching at Cranbrook Academy of Art; his commissions include works for the Rockefeller Center and a Christ in Prayer for Christchurch, Cranbrook, Michigan, the latter considered by Evans to be among his most important commissions. By autumn 1933 he was back in Britain. His public commissions include the Memorial to Bishop Chavasse, 1933, for Giles Gilbert Scott’s Liverpool Anglican Cathedral; relief carvings, 1935–36, for Wandsworth Town Hall and Municipal Offices; five relief panels for Earls Court Exhibition Centre, 1936–37; a bust of Thomas Coram, stone, 1937, over the entrance to 40 Brunswick Square, London; stone panels of craftsmen, 1938, for the exterior of E. Culpin’s Poplar Town Hall, Bow Road, London; relief sculpture, 1939, for Mauger, May and Sullivan’s Methodist Missionary Society building, Marylebone Road, London (illustrated in A.T. Broadbent, Sculpture Today in Great Britain 1940–43, London, 1944, pl. 8); and Gog and Magog, limewood, 1950–53, for the West Gallery, Guildhall, London. Examples of his work are in the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, Cardiff. Evans was an associate RBS from 1929 and a fellow from 1938. He moved to Welwyn Garden City in c.1942; the Urban District Council commissioned his stone figure, Dawn, 1950, for the Parkway.
Bibliography: D. Buckman, Artists in Britain since 1945 (2 vols: A–L, M–Z), Bristol, 2006; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, p. 486; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, pp. 340, 341, 342; Mapping Sculpture; The Times, 16 March 1959, p. 14 (obit.); P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, pp. 183–85, 287–89.
Terry Cavanagh November 2022
David Evans in his studio, with one of the five panels for the Earls Court Exhibition Centre (photo: public domain)