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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 11 (February 1, 1938)


Mr. Stanley Davis, Supervising Artist of the New Zealand Railways Outdoor Advertising Branch, died suddenly on 10th January at Tauranga, where he was on holiday. His brilliant life ended in mid-career, for he was only in his forty-sixth year.

He was born in Gloucester, England. After some years of zealous study of art in London he completed his training in Paris. After active service in the Great War, he came to New Zealand, and was engaged by the Railways Advertising Branch in 1922. Here he put a new original impress on commercial art, and quickly won his way to the front. His bold, striking treatment of many subjects has been highly praised by well-qualified critics of the British Empire and America. His designs have also been importantly helpful in successful campaigns of the Railways Publicity Branch.

* * *

Stanley Davis rests on the hill of Taita, in the peaceful green valley of the Hutt River, where he wished to be when the time came for the final farewell. A pohutukawa tree will rise as a living monument by his grave, but his best memorials are his friends, for he built himself into their hearts. The sudden ending of a bright life left them with more than a sense of loss; rather with a feeling of grievance against the scheme of things where “hearts as dry as summer dust burn to the socket.”

Never have I seen a more heart-touching group of grief than the young comrades (who were pall-bearers) as they stood with bowed heads by the open grave. It was the deep sorrow of youth at parting from a loved one, whose soulful personality had grown in their hearts as a flower in a favourable garden. They were as stricken as branches wrenched from a tree.

A chant came from one of Stanley's well-loved “little people,” a lark high up in the sunny blue sky, a salute of song while the clergyman spoke the last words of farewell.