Portrait of Douglas Smith by Bryan Organ (Detail). 

Bryan Organ, Patron of LSA introduced Douglas Smith as LSA President in 1987, with an expected term of two or three years.  In 2015, Bryan quipped "Little did I know then that Douglas would go on for seven times three presidential terms" .



Douglas Smith
LSA President 1987-2014


We regret to announce that Douglas Smith passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 11th, at the age of 94. His son Adrian and his family looked after him at home during his final moments.

The Funeral Service will be held at Great Glen Crematorium on Thursday, March 14th, at 12:30 pm. A funeral reception will follow at Leicestershire Golf Course. The family welcome LSA Members and Douglas's friends to join them in mourning the loss of a great soul and celebrating his long and active life.

Knowing who will be attending would be most helpful for the family. Please get in touch with secretary@leicestersocietyofartists.co.uk for contact details.

We remember our fellow member, an accomplished artist, architect, author, and dear friend of the Leicester Society of Artists, who has died at the age of 94.
Douglas trained in painting, sculpture, pottery, and architecture at Cheltenham School of Art before completing his architectural training at Leicester School of Architecture (now De Montfort University), where he also obtained a postgraduate degree in Landscape Architecture. During his student years, Douglas travelled throughout Europe. In 1950, cycling to the South of France and back with twelve other students from Cheltenham. Then, in 1951, he and five students from Leicester College of Art and Edinburgh University embarked on a 'Grand Tour' of Europe in a 1934 London Taxi.

For more than forty years, Leicester was the focus of his architectural practice. He founded and directed the highly successful multi-disciplinary firm Douglas Smith Stimson Partnership, which consisted of architects, landscape architects, and interior designers. Between 1960 and 2000, the partnership significantly contributed to Leicester's cityscape by designing numerous noteworthy projects, including the University of Leicester's arboretum and De Montfort University's Innovation Centre.
Throughout his long and distinguished architectural career, Douglas enthusiastically pursued his passion for painting and sketching with an insatiable appetite for travel. With his wife Shirley, he travelled extensively worldwide, always carrying a handmade sketchbook and camera.  He drew inspiration from classical ruins to iconic modern architecture, using watercolours, pens and pencils to make studies, which he often developed into paintings in his Leicester studio. 
Douglas became President of LSA in 1987 and served an unprecedented term of 27 years; during his presidency, he demonstrated his unwavering dedication to the arts.  Douglas initiated project exhibitions held in conjunction with the New Walk Museum, and these themed exhibitions continued until 2013. Other initiatives during his presidency included the Slapstick exhibition at Trinity House, the Big Draw event at Leicester Museum, and annual LSA public lectures at the museum, which started in 1989 when several influential art critics and art historians came to the museum to deliver lectures.  Douglas actively encouraged interaction between members, hosting summer buffet lunches and arranging trips, including to Aix-en-Provence for the Cezanne centenary and Barcelona. Regular coach trips were arranged for LSA members and their friends, usually having some interesting architectural aspects, which Douglas delighted in explaining.  He generously sponsored a genuinely innovative website for the Society, which allowed each LSA member to widen their audience.
Drawing on his architectural background and fascination for light and colour, the watercolours and sketches he exhibited with the Society were infused with a unique sense of place. Today, his artwork can be found in collections throughout Europe, America, and Canada.  
Douglas wrote eight books on architecture, design, paintings, and sketches as an author.  The monies raised from the proceeds of book and print sales he donated to the charity Hope Against Cancer (formerly The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research) in memory of his dear friend, Allison Wilson, whose untimely demise from cancer in 2002 inspired the creation of the Foundation.

 The late Lord Attenborough CBE in his foreword to 'Leicester, Paintings and Sketches' published in 2001 wrote:

I grew up in Leicester from the age of seven.  As a result, my formative years were spent among the scenes and buildings depicted in this enchantingly informative book.  It evokes so many personal memories of places and people I knew well during those early years of my life.  It will, I'm sure offer a fascination for countless others who experience the joy of looking through it.
Douglas Smith has captured a love of Leicester which reflects its historic past, rejoices in the diversity of its present and heralds optimism for the future.  I am immensely grateful to Douglas for presenting the images and the 'spirit' of Leicester within these pages for us all to enjoy.  


Richard Attenborough (2001) 

In 2015, Douglas published his most significant book, "Iconic Modern Architecture". Later, in 2017, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London included the original 34 watercolours and 30 drawings from the book in their RIBA Drawing Collection. Charles Hind, FSA Chief Curator, praised Douglas for his outstanding contribution to their collection telling him, "You have made the most up-to-date contribution to our collection, covering both architects as designers and architects as artists." 







In 2012, to celebrate Douglas Smith's 25th year as the President of the Leicester Society of Artists, seventy-five members collaborated to create a "wonder box". This box is inspired by the ancient tradition of 'wunderkammers' or 'cabinets of wonders', to showcase small objects collected on the Grand Tour. The wonder box was a personal gift from the members of LSA to Douglas Smith to commemorate his long journey with the Society. The box consists of 75 cells, each one measuring 7.5 cm square and filled with miniature individual works of art.

 "It has been an immense pleasure and privilege to be your President for 27 years and to know that you are all my friends.  Looking back, I see it has been a long and fascinating journey”. . . .  “2012, when the Members presented me with the 'Wonder Box', I was speechless”.
Douglas Smith (2015)