Diana Armfield RA HNEAC Hon RWS Hon PS RWA (Emeritus)

Honorary Life Member


Artist Statement

Diana Armfield paints subjects that enhance life and need cherishing . . . protecting. She searches out a harmony from the chosen scene to share with others. Painting seems to make the subject permanently special for her. 

"Of course life receives powerful negative forces as well as positive, but unless a harmony is achieved in the work, it can’t be art, only just a reflection of life. Great artists can reconcile in their work both the positive and negative." 

For Diana, it stretches her talent enough to learn from her subject and attempt to order it into something meaningful that enriches life.

Method of Working

Diana works in several media; each can influence the method. Working outside, response to the subject is paramount. Once the choice of toned support and boundaries acknowledged, the scene itself will seem to dictate what follows. Back in the studio, the outcome will get a long appraisal. If then developed in the studio, her emphasis shifts to thoughts of geometry, memory, imagination, possibly a drawing will come into play. Flowers are seldom static. At first she will attempt to establish dominant blooms against precise indications of the more stable elements; exhilarating, sometimes despairing, rarely abandoned! Pastels, usually based on sketchbook drawings; they seem to her, appropriate for town or café scenes. Figures, dogs get added from memory, imagination, or the sketchbook. They become alive to her, developing personalities and situations, rather in the way that characters in novels do for authors. Observed drawing underpins all her work.

Biographical Details

1946-52 Armfield-Passano partnership for designing/printing fabrics (1946-52) and wallpapers.
1951 Festival of Britain
1949 Married Bernard Dunstan. Three sons ’50, ’52, ’55
Art school teaching: Central School, Byam Shaw, Residencies: Perth (Aus.), Wyoming (USA)
Wartime: Organised cultural/entertainment events for soldiers & factory workers, Min. of Supply
Educated: Bedales, Bournemouth Art, Slade School, Central School

Other Society Memberships

RA, Hon Rt RWS, Hon Rt PS, RWA, Hon Rt Royal Cambrian Academy

Past Exhibitions

2015/16 Joint Show with Diana Armfield. Belle Shenkman Room, Royal Academy
2012 Royal Academy “Now”
2008 Curwen & New Academy 50th Anniversary
2002 Albany Gallery
2001 Royal Cambrian Academy; Royal Academy Friend’s Room 90th Birthday Show
1979  Solo, Browse & Darby
1966 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition


The New English (represented in, 2006) by Kenneth McConkey, ISBN 1903973988
Pocket Guide: Painting in Oils (Series Consultant) ISBN 0855333723
Drawing, A Practical Step by Step Guide (Series Consultant) ISBN 0855335017
The Art of Diana Armfield by Julian Halsby, ISBN 0715302337