JAFFRAY, Captain Reginald Seymour

Present Whereabouts Unknown


The sitter was born 19 May, 1870, the son of Clifford Dinnies Jaffray (1841-1896), and Lucy Brainerd Birdsall Jaffray (1845-1894) and died in Ottawa, Canada, in 1944.

A small portrait painted in 1936. Begun November 11, 1936 and possibly unfinished at the end of the year. The sitter lived in Bermuda. On November 24, 1936, after several sittings, Muller-Ury recorded in his diary that, ‘I am working on Capt. Jaffray who is interesting but half mad.’ On 4 December 1936 after more sittings, he said something similar, ‘Another sitting with Captain Jaffray who to me does not seem normal in his mind…’

Interestingly, earlier the same year, the artist recorded in his diary when In London that, ‘I saw the lawyer in order to arrange for payment from Reg. Jaffray for that which he owes me.’ Whether this was for another picture is unknown.

A sale of works of art belonging to a Capt. Reginald Seymour Jaffray was held at the Anderson Galleries, New York, on February 26, 1938.

As a Lyric writer he wrote a song called ‘I planted a tree’ which sold 250,000 copies in 1936.

He apparently owned a mansion in the village of Dunsfold, Surrey, UK.

The Kane Republican, Kane Philadelphia, Friday June 4th, 1937:


Captain Reginald Jaffray, wealthy American, stood his ground today and the situation was well in hand. Yesterday he defied practically the entire city of London, fellow tenants, real estate agents and lawyers, by filling the balcony of his Piccadilly apartment with expensive flowers and displaying a banner which said: “Long life and happiness to the Duke and Duchess.” This obviously referred to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Jaffray was ordered to remove the banner. But he replied: “Go to hell. You will take it down over my dead body. Nobody complained when I displayed $500 worth of loyal decorations at the coronation.” Jaffray met the Duke of Windsor at Bermuda and admires him greatly.”

The Ottawa Journal, Monday, May 8, 1944:

“Capt. R. S. Jaffray World Traveller, Lyric Writer Dies.

A prominent writer of lyrics, journalist and philanthropist, Capt Reginald Seymour Jaffray, of 74 River road, Eastview, died in the Ottawa General Hospital at 4 o’clock Sunday morning, in his 74th year. Friend of kings and men, widely-published writer, holder of estates in three countries and composer of lyrics sung by outstanding Metropolitan Opera stars. Capt. Jaffray led the colorful existence of a world-traveller for many years before settling in Eastview almost two years ago. A great friend of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, he was on his way to the Bahamas to visit them in January and got as far a New York, when his health started to fail. He returned to Ottawa and has been in hospital here for the past three months.”