Desmond Morris


Desmond Morris : biography

24 January 1928 –


In 1964 he was invited to deliver the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture on Animal Behaviour.

Personal life

When Desmond was 14, his father passed away in the military. Desmond ever since then claims, as noted from a 2008 interview, “It was the beginning of a life long hatred of the establishment. The church, the government and the military were all on my hate list and have remained there ever since.” As said in another interview, Desmond’s reasoning behind drifting towards the surrealist subculture is rather profound. In a time living as a child in World War II and then losing his father to the repercussions of that violence, an inner urge for rebellion against authority struck Morris.

With the coming of surrealism starting in the 1920s as a rebellion against The horrendous natures of The Great War, these ideas fit Desmond’s current mindset quite perfectly. Enabling him to create his own world for himself within his paintings. Painting he proclaims is his own personal pleasure, not business. So his rebellion ended up coming forth in other ways, more positive ways, not just within his paintings but within his desire to share knowledge throughout over 79 publications with the world. Not wanting to cause grief for anyone in other aspects (due to his prior grief), he decided to aim his energies in these more positive directions such as writing evolutionarily beneficial works. And so he did, as seen through his life accomplishments, or entire lists of works. Desmond’s Grandfather William Morris, a very enthusiastic Victorian Naturalist is noted to have played a great influence on Desmond during his time period living in Swindon. Interesting to note, William Morris founded the Swindon local Newspaper.

In July 1952, Morris married Ramona Baulch, a history graduate from Oxford. Both only children, the two conceived their only son Jason in Malta, a country in Southern Europe. This occurred in 1968 following the success of The Naked Ape. In 1978 Desmond was elected Vice-Chairman of the Oxford United Football Club. Interesting to note, later in 1981 Morris publishes The Soccer Tribe, analysis regarding the world of professional football, or rather soccer, to Canadians and Americans. In the same year Silvano Levy’s 50 Years of Surrealism is published, 1997, Desmond’s son marries Annie Reeves, and their daughter Matilda is born. Followed by another granddaughter to Morris in 2000, named Madeline, and another in 2003 named Annabelle, as well as a grandson in 2004 named Evan.

Morris is an avid traveller; in 1998 he made a three-month journey around world, traveling to research new books and TV series to 21 different countries. This expedition was followed by another in 2001, this time taking off on a round the word trip with his Wife Ramona, visiting 23 different countries this time around. In 2003, Desmond sets off on yet another journey around the world for three months, this time visiting the Far East, Asia, The Mediterranean, the Middle East, as well as the Caribbean, Central American, North America, and Australasia. Three years later in 2006, Desmond made another three-month journey around the world, traveling this time to the Middle East, Far East, as well as Africa and Australia. Morris continues to travel throughout the years until the present, with his last venture to Alaska to study the Northwest Indian and Eskimo arts. Desmond reflects in an interview unknown to Wikipedia with the following quote that happens to close the ending chapters of Morris’s life quite appropriately: “ I also carried my message – about how fascinating animal behavior and human behavior can be – to an even wider audience by making television programs, and presented a total of about 700 programs over a period of half a century. I have now stopped that work and I am devoting my final years to the three things I enjoy most; writing books, painting pictures and traveling the world. I have so far managed to visit 95 countries and I have a schoolboy ambition to make that 100 countries before I die.”