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Born in Cheltenham in 1941 JOHN NANKIVELL demonstrated ability in pencil drawing from a young age and studied Fine Art at Reading University. Whilst teaching in Oxfordshire he met John Betjeman who became an enthusiastic supporter of his work and admirer of his drawings with their sensitive depiction of architectural form and detail.


His subsequent meeting with John Betjeman’s wife, Penelope, led to Nankivell’s first trip to India. In 1970 he drove with her overland to India. The purpose of the trip was to research and record the temples of the vernacular style of the Western Himalaya, the subject of Penelope Betjeman’s research. Having set up a base in Kullu they trekked to remote temple sites and villages where  Nankivell  drew. His series of hill drawings was  very successfully exhibited at the Hartnoll and Eyre Gallery in London  which then commissioned him to draw  the buildings of South India, (Hindu, Colonial and Islamic) over six months. A later trip to India focused on Kolkata and in 1980 he returned to the Western Himalaya with Penelope Betjeman and drew in Kinnaur.


He has drawn extensively in Ireland, in Java, in the Czech Republic, and in the Yemen. He has had seven  solo shows in London and has work is in many collections including those of the Prince of Wales, the V&A and the Royal Asiatic Society. His drawings have been published in books and magazines including the Architectural Review. 


Triyugi Narayan Temple, Diyar

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