Michael Ayrton (1921–1975)

© Lola Marsden / National Portrait Gallery, London. Image credit: Lola Marsden / National Portrait Gallery, London

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A vintage bromide print of Michael Ayrton, artist, writer, film-maker and broadcaster.

Born in London, Ayrton lived in Vienna and Paris from 1936–1939. 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.

National Portrait Gallery, London



Michael Ayrton (1921–1975)




vintage bromide print


H 17.8 x W 15.3 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 2002

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