Michael Ayrton

Michael Ayrton bigraphy, stories - Sculptor

Michael Ayrton : biography

20 February 1921 – 17 November 1975

Michael Ayrton (20 February 1921 – 17 November 1975) was an English artist and writer, known as a painter, printmaker, sculptor and designer, and also as a critic, broadcaster and novelist. He was a stage and costume designer, working with John Minton on the 1942 John Gielgud production of Macbeth from age 19; and a book designer and illustrator, for Wyndham Lewis’s The Human Age trilogy and William Golding. He also collaborated with Constant Lambert. His work is in several important collections including the Tate Gallery, London, National Portrait Gallery, London, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Fry Art Gallery, Essex.

Selected writings

  • 1946: British Drawing. London: Collins ASIN B00149X1DM
  • 1947: Aspects of British Art. London: Collins
  • 1953: Tittivulus or The verbiage collector. London: Max Reinhardt
  • 1967: The Maze Maker: a novel. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Life and career

Ayrton was born Michael A. Gould in St Pancras, London,GRO Register of Births: MAR 1921 1b 45 PANCRAS – Michael A. Gould, mmn = Ayrton his parents being Gerald Gould and Barbara Ayrton; he took his mother’s maiden name professionally. In 1952, he married Elisabeth Evelyn Walshe (1910–1991), the former wife of author Nigel Balchin.GRO Register of Marriages: DEC 1952 5d 585 MARYLEBONE – Ayrton = Balchin or Walshe Elisabeth Ayrton was a novelist and writer on cookery. He died in 1975 at Hampstead, London.GRO Register of Deaths: DEC 1975 12 2044 HAMPSTEAD – Michael Ayrton, DoB 21 February 1921

Beginning in 1961, Michael Ayrton wrote and created many works associated with the myths of the Minotaur and Daedalus, the legendary inventor and maze builder, including bronze sculpture and the pseudo-autobiographical novel "The Maze Maker" (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967). He also wrote and illustrated "Tittivulus Or The Verbiage Collector", an account of the efforts of a minor devil to collect idle words. He was the author of several non-fiction works on fine art, including "Aspects of British Art" (Collins, 1947).http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person.php?LinkID=mp05037

In 1977, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery organised a major retrospective exhibition of his work which subsequently went on tour. T. G. Rosenthal, ‘Ayrton, Michael (1921–1975)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 Several paintings are currently on display in the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford.