Chandor, Douglas Granvil (1897–1953)

By: David Minor

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: December 1, 1994

Douglas Granvil Chandor, artist, the son of John Arthur and Lucy May (Newton) Chandor, was born on August 20, 1897, in Surrey, England. World War I began a few months after he completed his education at Radley, and at seventeen he joined the Life Guards, First Regiment of Household Cavalry. Later, he served as a member of the celebrated Scottish Lovat Scouts. In 1918 Chandor was discharged from the Scouts after contracting typhoid and severely damaging his knee. He recuperated in Surrey, then pursued his childhood interest, art. He enrolled at the Slade School in London, where he concentrated on developing his talent as a portraitist. In 1919 he received his first major commission, to paint Sir Edward Marshall-Hall, K.C. When it was displayed at the British Royal Academy Exhibition, the portrait attracted further offers for the young artist, including a commission to paint the Prince of Wales, a work he completed in 1921. The painting drew "half of London" to the Grieves Gallery. Two years later Chandor accepted an invitation to portray the prime ministers of the British empire at work during the Imperial Conference held in London at 10 Downing Street.

Although he was a critical success, Chandor's income did not stretch far enough to support a wife and child. In 1926 he and his wife, Pamela (Trelawny), whom he had married in 1920, traveled to the United States, where Chandor thought his prospects might be better. His first American exhibition, held at the Andrews Gallery in New York in March 1927, was well received and resulted in a number of commissions. Included among the invitations was a request to paint President Herbert Hoover, Vice President Charles Curtis, and the entire cabinet. Chandor's painting of Hoover, combined with his earlier portraits of British aristocrats, established his reputation as a painter of the world's political leaders. During his career he painted about 300 portraits. Significant subjects included President Gerardo Machado y Morales of Cuba, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth II, Samuel T. (Sam) Rayburn, and President Franklin Roosevelt. His portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt is believed to be the only one for which she formally posed; he also painted Sara Delano Roosevelt and the wives of James and Elliott Roosevelt.

From 1926 until the mid-1930s Chandor's career demanded most of his time. He was divorced in 1932 and married Ina K. Hill of Weatherford, Texas, in 1934. He returned with his wife to her native city where they lived in the family mansion. For the rest of his career Chandor spent half of each year in New York and the remaining time in Weatherford, where he developed the grounds of his estate into a showplace that the Chandors named White Shadows Gardens. The house, which sat on a hill overlooking the city, was surrounded by an elaborate network of walls that enclosed an array of plants and trees, Chinese pagodas, a Japanese water garden, and a miniature replica of Mount Fujiyama. After World War II Chandor was commissioned to paint the "Big Three" (Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin) to celebrate the meeting at Yalta. He was never able to get to Moscow to paint Stalin. On January 13, 1953, two weeks after returning from London, where he completed his second portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Chandor died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He had become an American citizen a few years before and requested that he be buried in his new home, Weatherford.

Dallas Morning News, January 14, 15, 1953. London Times, January 15, 1953. Malcolm Vaughn, Chandor's Portraits (New York: Brentano's, 1942). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Peoples
  • English
  • Visual Arts
  • Painting

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

David Minor, “Chandor, Douglas Granvil,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994