Male portrait placeholder image

Name: Thomas Guyatt

Burial Number: 1152

Gender: Male

Born: 15/04/1873

Died: 04/02/1924

Buried: 07/02/1924


Although he was born and  lived most of his life in Spain, Thomas Guyatt was a British subject. His father, Thomas , was the British Consul in Boston. Thomas jnr., was the British Consul in Spain in the area around his birthplace. A Consul was an official representative of a country invited into another country to protect and assist the citizens of his own country and foster trade between the two. In 1891, aged 19, was a commercial clerk, boarding at 143, Cobourne Road, East Ham.

13/06/1881 – Board of Trade Wreck Report for steamship ‘Mennythorpe’ on rocks at Baldayo. Thomas Guyatt , British merchant, resident of Corunna listed as part of the Court members.

On 24 March 1904 Thomas Guyatt married Cecil Katherine Chetwynd-Talbot, a great granddaughter of Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 2nd Earl Talbot, a British politician and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in Llanfallteg, Carmarthenshire.

By 1906 he was Vice Consul of Corunna. For the next 20 years they lived mainly in Spain and the Censuses could not be found. Their children were listed in Debrett – Charles Chetwynd Henry and Maud Lilian Geraldine (twins) b,1905, Cecile Charlotte 1907, Thomas Talbot b.1910 and Richard Gerald b. 1918. Richard became a Professor of Graphic Art at the Royal College of Art and coined the phrase ‘graphic art’.

In 1922 the King appointed Thomas as Consul for the Provinces of Corunna, Orensa, Lugo, Pentevedra, Leon, Zamora, Salamanca and Ovedo and he lived at the Consulate in Vigo.

When Thomas died in 1924, of a heart attack, which was thought to be caused by the strain of his  valuable work as Consul throughout the War, Cecil returned to England and two of his young sons had not finished their education.

Earl Winterton, MP for Horsham and Worthing from 1918 until 1945, asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department to make a grant for their education but was not successful



At the time of the 1939 Register Cecil was living in Oxfordshire, in the 1940s in Surrey and in the 1950s in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, where she died in 1957.

Researcher: Angela Levy

The Grave

Photograph of headstone for Thomas Guyatt

Location in Cemetery

Area: NWS Row: 9 Plot: 3

Exact Location (what3words): unit.clubs.dame

Ashes or Urn: Unknown



No description of the headstone has been added.


In ever loving memory of Thomas Guyatt his Britannic Majestys Consul at Vico, Spain born 15th April 1873 died 4th February 1924. And of his wife Cecil Katherine died 19th July 1957 "Nearer my God to Thee"

Further Information


Name: Thomas Guyatt

Gender: Male

Born: 15/04/1873

Town: Known

County: Unknown

Country: Spain


Maiden Name: Not applicable

Marriage Date: 24/3/1904

Spouse First Name: Cecil

Spouse Second Name: Katherine

Spouse Last Name: Talbot

Town of Marriage: Llanfallteg

County of Marriage: Carmarthenshire

Country of Marriage: Wales

Information at Death

Date of Death: 04/02/1924

Cause of death: Heart Attack

Town: Known

County: Known

Country: Spain


No obituary has been entered.

Personal Effects

Money left to others: £785 14 s 11 d

Current value of effects: Not calculated

Census Information

No census information is available for this burial record.

Miscellaneous Information

Published on 01 July 1909 – British Birds – Notes Mr. Thomas Guyatt, the acting British Consul at Corufia

COMMON TERN (Sterna fluviatilis).–B.B., No. 4308, marked by Messrs. Robinson and Smalley at Ravenglass, Cumberland, on July 30th, 1909, as a nestling. Recovered at Espifia, in Galicia, Spain, on September 21st, 1909. This bird was caught by a boy, and was kept alive for two days. The capture was heard of by a coastguard named Inocente Dieguez, who reported the matter to the British Vice-Consul at Corcubion, who in turn reported it to. I am deeply indebted to Sir Edward Grey for drawing my attention to this case, and to Mr. Guyatt for very kindly undertaking the strictest enquiries with regard to the matter, and returning me the ring with full particulars of the capture of the bird.


Foreign Office, March 1, 1922.

The KING haa been graciously pleased to
appoint: —
Thomas Guyatt, Esq., to be His Majesty’s Consul for the Provinces of Corunna, Orenset, Lugo, Pontevedra, Leon, Zamora, Salamanca and Oviedo, to reside at Vigo.


HC Deb 08 May 1924 vol 173 c637W 637W


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department, whether he will make a grant for the education of the two young sons of the late Mr. Thomas Guyatt, British Consul at Vigo, who died on 1st February last at Worthing from heart failure, in view of Mr. Guyatt’s distinguished record in the public service since 1891, and the valuable work which he did as a Consul throughout the War, the strain of which is considered to have been mostly responsible for his death?

  • Mr. LUNN

I regret that there is no fund from which the Foreign Office can make grants for the education of the children of deceased Consular officers however distinguished their service may have been.

sepia photograph of the Great Grandfather of Cecil Katherine Talbot

The Right Honourable The Earl of Talbot KG KP PC FRS - The Second Earl Talbot in 1844

Cecil (sic) Katherine Talbot was the great- granddaughter of Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 2nd Earl Talbot, British politician and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.  Her parents were Charles Alexander Price Chetwynd, a shipping  and insurance agent , and his wife, Matilda. In 1881 the family was living at Pinner , in Middlesex, where she was born. Cecil married Thomas Guyatt on 24 March 1904 at Llanfallteg, Carmarthenshire. For the next 20 years they lived mainly in Spain and the Censuses could not be found. Their children were listed in Debrett – Charles Chetwynd Henry and Maud Lilian Geraldine (twins) b,1905, Cecile Charlotte 1907, Thomas Talbot b.1910 and Richard Gerald b. 1918. Richard became a Professor of Graphic Art at the Royal College of Art and coined the phrase ‘graphic art’. When Thomas died, Cecil returned to England. At the time of the 1939 Register she was living in Oxfordshire, in the 1940s in Surrey and in the 1950s in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, where she died in 1957.

Probate “GUYATT Cecil Katherine of the Old Rectory Harnhill Cirencester Gloucestershire widow died 19 July 1957 Probate London 23 October to Charles Henry Chetwynd Talbot television news editor. Effects £325.”

Monday 29th October 2007 – Independent Newspaper

Obituary of Richard Gerald Talbot Guyatt (son of Thomas and Cecil Guyatt)

RCA Professor of Graphic Arts whose radical innovations achieved a new status for designers

Richard Gerald Talbot Guyatt, designer: born La Coruña, Spain 8 May 1914; Professor of Graphic Arts, Royal College of Art 1948-78, Pro-Rector 1974-78, Rector 1978-81; consultant designer, Josiah Wedgwood & Sons 1952-55; consultant designer, Central Electricity Generating Board 1964-68; consultant designer, British Sugar Bureau 1965-68; CBE 1969; consultant designer, W.H. Smith 1970-87; married 1941 Elizabeth Corsellis (died 2005; one stepdaughter); died Ham, Wiltshire 17 October 2007.

Richard Guyatt was one of the 20th century’s most seminal figures in the world of graphic design. Even the phrase “graphic design” was his own invention. His career spanned 75 years and his greatest influence was exercised as one of the inner circle of artists, architects and designers who came together after the Second World War to reform the Royal College of Art.

In 1939, the Ministry of Home Security had recruited a team to design camouflage for important installations. In this unit, Dick Guyatt worked with fellow professionals including Hugh Casson, Robert Goodden, David Pye and Robin Darwin. Whilst serious endeavour directed their efforts to develop the patterns of deception, later events suggest that the formidable friendships made here brought a coherent element to the new design establishment that was to emerge after the war.

In 1948 Guyatt was approached by Darwin, then working for the Council of Industrial Design, to help prepare a report proposing curriculum changes at the Royal College of Art, which they considered to have declined to little more than a moribund hatchery for the teaching profession. The report got Darwin the job of Principal at the RCA and he enlisted Guyatt as the college’s youngest Professor, to create a new school of “Graphic Design”. The aim was to bring the teaching of design up to date and make it an effective force to help propel British industry and commerce into the modern post-war world.

Guyatt himself coined the phrase “graphic design” – “No one was quite sure what it meant,” he said, “but it had a purposeful ring” – and at one stroke it freed commercial art from its pejorative associations and allowed it to rejoin and in many ways rejuvenate fine art in the mainstream of British culture. He opened new departments for the study of film and television, photography, illustration, typography, printmaking and graphic information, and insisted that all areas of the college should communicate and inform each other.

This new approach met considerable resistance from a fine art establishment that was already struggling with its own inner conflicts. As graphic design became part of the language and to be regarded as art itself, many “fine” artists found themselves in an uncomfortable position – and Guyatt’s disregard of artists who “could not draw” did not endear him to the airier echelons of the profession.

He encouraged specialisation, sought out industrial partnerships and engaged teachers who were practising professionals. These radical innovations eventually achieved a new status for designers and a lasting reform of British art education.

At the 1951 Festival of Britain, the first great national event after the war, Guyatt was co-designer (with his RCA colleagues Goodden and Dick Russell) of the Lion and Unicorn Pavilion, the star exhibit, dedicated to an exploration of the national character. In this celebration of “Englishness” the gravitas of the Lion and the whimsy of the Unicorn were combined with a flair and a beguiling wit that entirely charmed even the British public queuing in the rain.

By 1963 the energy and creativity of Guyatt’s design school had become a focus for the whole college. Graphics RCA, the catalogue of an exhibition of 15 years of his students’ work was an impressive array of the best in British graphic design: Ridley Scott, David Gentleman, Michael Foreman, Norman Ackroyd, Len Deighton, Alan Fletcher and Brian Tattersfield were among those who made up the long list of his students.

Guyatt’s adherence to the original vision of what the RCA should be and achieve was unswerving. He nurtured his staff and his students with real affection and insight, with a velvet hand—albeit in an iron glove. One (then) young teacher says she can never forget how Guyatt looked after her when she joined the college: “Properly and beautifully, a real gentleman.” As Sir Hugh Casson wrote on Guyatt’s retirement from the RCA in 1981, “. . . all his life Dick Guyatt has readily accepted and punctiliously dealt with teaching, designing, consulting, illustrating, lecturing, administrating; bringing to each problem, however small, that same quality of the true professional, the ruthless determination to achieve by rational methods aims that have been conceived in passion.”

Dick Guyatt spent his childhood in Spain – his father was British Consul in Vigo – and although a Charterhouse education placed him firmly in the ranks of the British establishment, it did nothing to eradicate a strain of stubborn, quixotic and stylish brilliance inherited from his Spanish grandmother. His only ambition was to be a “real” artist, and even at school he was fascinated by the contrasts and conflicts that existed between fine and applied art.

At 19 he apprenticed himself to Oliver Messel’s theatre design studio, attended Bernard Meninsky’s life drawing classes and started to pick up a living with advertising commissions. Two of his Shell posters – “Sham Castle in Bath” for the Visit Britain’s Landmarks series, and “Racing Motorists” for These Men Use Shell – are classics.

But it was more than drive and vision that sustained his career. In 1933 Dick Guyatt had been introduced to the work of the Russian philosopher P.D. Ouspensky. Ouspensky loved the truth, and truthfulness, above all else, and his philosophy was not merely ideas – it had to be a practical proposition. Both Dick and his wife Elizabeth attended Ouspensky’s meetings until 1947 and the intensive practice of Ouspensky’s system of self-knowledge produced a core of belief that would shape and direct their lives.

Ouspensky’s “practical proposition” meant that all thought, feeling and action had to be attentively observed to discover one’s own unique form of creativity. In Guyatt’s life and work, this produced an economy of style and expression that was always in step with his perfectionism. His unvarying practice of what he preached, leavened by a wickedly deadpan sense of humour, was a deeply positive and lasting influence on his students and his friends.

Guyatt was variously consultant designer to Wedgwood, the Electricity Generating Board, the British Sugar Bureau and W.H. Smith. He realised ceramic designs for British embassies, King’s College, Cambridge, for the Coronation and the Royal Silver Wedding, and for Eton College. For nine years, he was a member of the Stamp Advisory Committee and designed for the Royal Mint. From 1968 he was chairman of the Guyatt/Jenkins Design Group and for many years exhibited his own paintings with the London Group. He was twice Visiting Professor at Yale University.

He worked for 34 years at the Royal College of Art, becoming Pro-Rector in 1974 and Rector from 1978 until 1981. He continued to work almost to his death; aged 91 he produced, to mark the bicentenary of the battle of Trafalgar, the last of a long series of now highly collectable commemorative mugs for Wedgwood.

He was one of our last remaining examples of a genuine Edwardian gentleman, to whom the qualities of duty, fidelity, truthfulness and manners were paramount. To the end he practised all these with a lightness and impeccability of style entirely his own.

Gerald Beckwith