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Donald Gilbert studied at art schools in the UK and Italy. He did notable works such as commissions for the Adelphi building in the Strand London and also the bust of Logie Baird (NPG) and Edward Elgar. He also worked with his father, Walter Gilbert on projects such as the the interior of the liner Queen Mary. In the 1930's he was comissioned to make models for Ashtead pottery, such as his Art Deco styled 'Jungle Book' series.
Apart from studies in Florence and Rome, Gilbert studied at the Birmingham Central School of Art the Royal Collage of Art and the Royal Academy, where he was a silver and bronze medalist.
Gilbert, became a member of Royal Birmingham Society of Artists in 1937. He exhibited at Chenil Galleries, Glasgow institute of Fine Arts, Royal Society of Artists Birmingham, Royal Academy, Royal Scottish Academy and Walker Gallery in Liverpool.