Michael Ayrton(1921-1975), Artist
Sitter in 8 portraits
Artist of 10 portraits
Artist, writer, film-maker and broadcaster. Born in London, Ayrton lived in Vienna and Paris from 1936-9. He trained with de Chirico and Tchelitchew and shared a studio with John Minton, with whom he first exhibited in 1942 and, on leave from the RAF, designed scenery and costumes for Gielgud's production of Macbeth (1942). In 1943 he became the youngest member of the BBC Brains Trust. From 1944, he was art critic of the Spectator, and worked with Constant Lambert on Purcell's's Fairy Queen at the Royal Opera House (1946). Encouraged by Alberto Giacometti and Henry Moore, Ayrton turned to sculpture, drawing themes from classical mythology. His novel The Maze Maker (1967) won the Heinemann Award for Literature.
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Artist and sitter interviews
Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.
Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.