Life Gallery

A photographic account of Robert Graves' life. If you require higher resolution version of these images, please get in contact with us.

Roberts Parents

Robert's father married twice and was of Irish ancestry whilst his mother was German.

Robert's Childhood

Alfred and Amy had four children: Rosaleen, Robert, John and Charles. They lived in Wimbledon.


Robert went to school at Charterhouse in Surrey.


Robert fought in World War One alongside fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon. His sister Roz joined the Ambulance Corps (and later went on to become a doctor).

1920s Nancy

After the war Robert marries Nancy, daughter of artist Nicholson. They move to Oxford where Robert goes to university. They have four children: Jenny, David, Sam and Catherine.

1930s Deyá

Robert and Laura Riding left England and eventually settled in Deyá, Mallorca. They build a house and became friends with the villagers including Juan Marroig (Gelat), the local entrepreneur. But they had to leave a few month after the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.

1936 to 1939 - Life on the Move

Graves and Riding leave Mallorca at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. They stay in several places in England, Switzerland and France. During this period Robert meets Beryl. At the end of April 1939 they sail to America, Laura falls for Schuyler Jackson, and Robert returns to England almost immediately. He stays with John Aldridge, in Great Bardsfield and Beryl joins him in October.

1940s Galmpton

Robert and Beryl look for a place to live and move to Galmpton, South Devon, near Basil Liddel Hart and Robert’s sister Dr Roz Cooper. They have three children: William, Lucia and Juan. Robert’s children by Nancy come to stay. The war has started. Jenny and Catherine join the WAAFs, David joins Robert’s old regiment the RWF. He is killed in 1943 in Burma.

1940s Deyá

In May 1946, Robert returned to Deya with Beryl and the three children. He found the house as he has left it. There were not many visitors in the early days. In July 1947 he visited Ricardo Sicré in Belver, in the French Pyrenees. In the summers of 1948 and 1949 the family visited Robert’s daughter Jenny in Portofino and then went on to London. Otherwise life went on in Deya with the occasional visit to Palma.

1950 - 1956

In 1950 Graves finally got his divorce and married Beryl. In 1951 Graves rented a flat in Palma so that the children could get better schooling. For a time Martin Seymour Smith acted as William’s tutor. Holidays were spent in Deya. Tomas was born in Palma in January 1953.

1957 - 1959

By 1957 the elder children had left for schools abroad, and only Tomas remained. Graves moved back to Deya, and began making lecture tours to pay for school fees.

1960 - 1964

Graves continued with his lecturing commitments and in 1961 was elected for a five year term as Professor of Poetry at Oxford. He spent a month or so each autumn in Oxford. Preparing lectures and writing articles took most of his time, and these he tended to publish as collections. His last major work was THE HEBREW MYTHS with Raphael Patai. In 1964 Jenny died of a brain haemorrhage.

1965 - 1969

In 1965 both William and Lucia get married and start families. Robert continues his lecture rounds and joins Beryl in trips to Hungary and Russia to spend some of the frozen royalty assets which have accumulated.

Old Age

Graves continues writing and publishing poetry and short essays until 1975 when his memory becomes too seriously compromised. He continues to get about until around 1979 when he starts getting lost and nurses are called in to help look after him. The family album fills with images of grandchildren.