Michael Ayrton (1921-1975)

Artwork by Michael Ayrton



Painter and sculptor of imaginative subjects; theatre designer and illustrator; writer and broadcaster. Born 20 February 1921 in London, son of Gerald Gould the poet. Education interrupted through illness; began studying drawings at the Albertina, Vienna, c. 1935; travelled in Italy, France and other countries. Attended Heatherley’s and St John’s Wood Schools of Art. Influenced by Tchelitchew, Sutherland and Moore. Practised commercial art; shared a studio with John Minton in Paris 1939 and held an exhibition with him of their designs for Macbeth at the Leicester Galleries 1942. Invalided out of the R.A.F. 1942; taught drawing and theatre design at Camberwell School of Art 1942–4. Art critic for The Spectator 1944–6. Illustrated a number of books. Author of British Drawings 1946; Hogarth’s Drawings 1948; Tittivulus 1953; Golden Sections 1957, etc. Began to make sculpture in 1958. Retrospective exhibitions at Wakefield 1949 and the Whitechapel Art Gallery 1955.

Published in: Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I