Known professionally as Willoughby Gray, but called Willo Pownall-Gray by his family, Willo was born in 1917. His father, John Gray, a Scottish painter and poet, was killed in the First World War, in Mesopotamia, fighting for the British Army against the Ottoman Empire. His mother, Mo, subsequently remarried to General Sir Henry Pownall who became, during the Second World War, Winston Churchill’s Director of Military Intelligence and later Lord Louis Mountbatten’s Chief of Staff. Willo grew up as an only child and spent his lonely hours painting and drawing landscapes. As he grew older Willo developed a skill in portraiture and became well known for his drawing of humorous cartoons of famous people and also of his friends. Growing up with a military family, Willo became an expert in Military History and became fascinated by the “Hundred Years War” (1337 to 1453) between the English and the French. Willo was especially interested in the uniforms of the French and the English Knights and the Heraldic markings that identified which side and family a Knight belonged to. Later Willo developed a love of making model soldiers from molten metal on which he would spend hours painting, with extreme accuracy, every facial and uniform detail. Willo’s talent for history, model soldiers, painting, caricature and narrating led to him being offered his own Television Show (Soldiers of the Queen) on the British Channel, ITV, which ran for six years. The show was broadcast weekly and Willo would discuss on the show fascinating moments in English History and then illustrate the critical moments in, for example, the battle of Agincourt, by maneuvering his model soldiers’ armies against each other. In 1966, Willo was awarded a US Emmy Award for illustrating, writing and narrating the documentary “Wyvern at War.” The documentary tells the agonizing Second World War story of the 43rd Wessex Division’s attack on the Normandy Beaches, on June 6th, 1944, and thereafter follows the Wessex Division’s Normandy hedgerow fighting where they took fifty percent casualties in six weeks. After his Emmy Award success, Willo’s career evolved and he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company as an actor and became a well know British TV show actor. He also had a number of movie roles including the Mad King in Rob Reiner’s movie classic the Princess Bride and the evil Dr Mortner in the James Bond Film, A View to a Kill. Before the Second World War, from 1935 to 1938, while an undergraduate at Oxford University, Willo’s History and Mythology professor was JRR Tolkien, who at the time was writing his book The Hobbit which evolved to the more serious book trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, which Peter Jackson later adapted into three outstanding movies. Willo became friends with JRR Tolkien at Oxford University and was so inspired by JRR Tolkien’s books that Willo created, during the 1950’s, from his imagination, a series of color pictures and black ink illustrations of the main characters of The Lord of the Rings. So well received were Willo’s pictures that for several years they were exhibited at the world-famous Tate Gallery in London in an “actors art” exhibit. Willo’s pictures, since Willo’s death in 1993, have hung in his eldest son Dickon’s home. Alice and Dickon Pownall-Gray recently decided to digitally restore Willo’s pictures and to present them on the Willo and Felix Fine Art website in loving memory of Willo. Please find Willo's The Lord of the Rings inspired pictures in the Collection "Willo's Monocle."