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David Davies was born on 21 May 1864 at Ballarat, Victoria, one of six children. He attended art classes at the Ballarat School of Mines and Industries, and from 1886 to 1890 studied at the National Gallery School.
During this time he visited Arthur Streeton at the old farmhouse on the Mount Eagle estate owned by Charles Davies, who was the brother of his future wife. In 1890, he travelled to Paris to study at the Academie Julian, and on 18 December 1891, married fellow student, Janet Sophia Davies.
The couple returned to Australia in 1893, and briefly settled at ‘Rangeworthy’ in Ivanhoe, Victoria.. The following year, 1894, the couple moved to Templestowe, and in 1896 moved to Cheltenham.
In 1897, they returned to England, and in 1908 settled in Dieppe, France. In 1932, they moved to Looe, Cornwall, where David Davies died on 26 March 1939.