An artist in all media, photographer and writer on music, Dannatt’s early training and career was a chartered surveyor. Wartime army service followed and in 1943 he married York-born Ann Doncaster, entering into a solid 66 year marriage. At this early stage it was not the music critic for The News Chronicle in 1944, which position he held for 12 years.
Dannatt’s earliest ventures into the art world coincided with his leaving The News Chronicle in 1956. The following year he and Ann acquired East Hatch near Tisbury in Wiltshire, which became from 1981 onward their main residence. An architect friend, John Shaw was a frequent visitor to east Hatch and designed the conversion.
From the beginning, Dannatt the artist favoured a small scale in which he fashioned exquisite, thoughtful abstractions of landscape schemes. No doubt such a feeling stemmed as much from his deep appreciation of classical music as from an actual visual observations of landscape.
The formal disciplines of design from his professional training also exercised an influence. From 1956 his interest in painting took hold and from early 1960’s he began a long association with the Cornish painters, in particular John Wells, Denis Mitchell, Alexander Mackenzie and Roy Conn.
From the early 1970’s he became a member of the Penwith Society and the Newlyn Society and began to exhibit with both galleries. A three man show, with Wells and Mackenzie was held at the Orion Gallery, Penzance in 1975. Thereafter he exhibited widely in London and the provinces, as well as in Germany and America. His numerous solo exhibitions culminated in three major shows at Osborne Samuel Gallery, London in 2005, 2008 and 2010. In 2015 to celebrate the Centenary of Dannatt’s birth, a number of major exhibitions were held around the country. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester held a show of both Dannatt’s own work and the work of his friends, including Terry Prost, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, Ben Nicholson and many others.
Katherine House Gallery held a large and highly successful exhibition of Dannatt’s paintings, constructions, reliefs and collages from 20th June 2015, which was extended twice and resulted in more than 50 sales. Further exhibitions of Dannatt’s work were held in 2015 at Southampton City Art Gallery, Dorset Country Museum, Dorchester and at Osborne Samuel Gallery, London.