Michael Ayrton was a British artist and writer born in 1921. He studied at the Heatherley School of Fine Art and the St John's Wood Art School, and later with the Eugène Bergman in Paris. Eriudite and prolific, his output consisted not only of paintings, literature, and sculpture; but also of set design for theatre and opera. He was the art critic for the spectator from 1944 – 1946, whilst working as a broadcaster for the BBC specialising in neo-romanticism. Much of his work is preoccupied with classical myth – that of the Minotaur, Daedalus and Icarus being most prominent. The Arkville maze, a piece commissioned by an American millionaire is the testament to his mythical obsession – it being the largest brick and stone labyrinth constructed since antiquity. His works can be seen in various public spaces and collections, nationally and internationally, including Tate Britain, the Museum of Modern Art New York and the National Portrait Gallery.
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