David Swithenbank was born on the 19th February 1926 in the house he lives in now at Dawes Bank, Holcombe, Bury. He was educated at Bury Grammar School and Bury Art School. He was in India from 1945 to 1947 and in 1945 he was a member of the Art Club in the Viceroy’s House, New Delhi. The country and especially Indian birds and Indian architecture have been a lifelong study and inspiration. He studied painting at the Manchester Regional College of Art from 1948 to 1951.
In the summer of 1950 he went on foot to Europe making his own ‘Grand Tour’ through Switzerland to Italy, returning through France. His first visit to Norway was in 1951 which became an extended stay and he has returned many times since. From 1961 to 1963 he again lived in Norway, “painting, singing, farming, walking, youth hostel wardening and dancing”.
With his wife June Miriam he founded and led Rauma Leikarring. They danced at events in Oslo, Dombås, Trondheim and Bodø. With Arne Digernes he researched the bunad worn by the Leikarring.
He is President of Bury Art Society founded in 1949 with the local MP as its first President, followed by L S Lowry whom David succeeded. He has been a member of the Colne Royal Morris Men since 1967, dancing at such prestigious events and venues as the Oxford May Morning, Coventry Cathedral, the Royal Albert Hall, Llangollen International Eisteddfod (where they won first prize) and at the Queen’s Silver Jubilee visit to Lancaster.
In 2012 his time in Norway was recounted in Davidsoga compiled by Audrey Digernes and published in Norwegian by Veblungsnes Historielag.