Darsie Napier Japp was born in Liverpool on 17th February 1883. His father, John Japp [1844-1911], was a Scottish born shipbroker and Darsie was one of six children. At the time of his birth the family were living at 168 Upper Parliament Street L8 but by 1885 had moved to 29 Croxteth Road L8 . (Both of these houses have since been demolished.) Just before the end of the century when they moved to 9 Alexandra Drive L17.
After attending St. John’s College, Oxford, Japp went to work in his father’s shipping office in London. It was here, between 1904-07 that he took evening classes at the Lambeth Art College, tutored by the future Royal Academician, Philip Connard. He studied at the Slade School of Art [1908-09] and became friends with fellow student Stanley Spencer, another future Royal Academician whose works would ultimately sell for over £5 million.
Japp volunteered for the army at the outset of the First World War. He rose to the rank of Major in the Royal Field Artillery, commanding an artillery battery in Macedonia, where his service saw him awarded the Military Cross. Coincidentally, his erstwhile fellow art student, Stanley Spencer, also served in Macedonia, firstly as a medical orderly then as an infantryman. The British War Memorial committee pressed the army to release both Japp and Spencer to work on paintings for a proposed National Hall of Remembrance. The army refused and in any case the project never materialised.
After leaving the army Japp was commissioned to produce a work depicting the Royal Artillery in Macedonia and this work is part of the Imperial War Museum’s collection.
For reasons which may have been economic or otherwise Japp ceased to paint professionally shortly after the war ended deciding to farm and breed racehorses in Berkshire. He left England in 1926 to live in France and Spain for some 27 years and spent his final years living in Portugal where he died on 25th September 1973.
The Japp family moved here at the very end of the 19th century
The work commissioned from Japp after the war now in the collection of the Imperial War Museum
There is very little by way of biographical detail available about Darsie Japp. Much of this material is from the Wikipedia entry. There are brief references to him in some works dealing with the art world in the early twentieth century. He merits a mention as an acquaintance of Augustus John in Michael Holroyd's biography of that artist.
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