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Michael Ayrton (1921-1975)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Michael Ayrton (1921-1975)

John Gielgud as Macbeth

Michael Ayrton (1921-1975)
John Gielgud as Macbeth
signed and dated 'Michael Ayrton f/August 1942' (lower left)
oil on board
22¾ x 16¼ in. (57.8 x 41.3 cm.)
Purchased by L.A.L.D. Renoir at the 1946 exhibition.
Mrs Elisabeth Ayrton
with Bruton Gallery, where acquired by Ruth Prowse in October 1980.
Peter Cannon-Brookes, Michael Ayrton: An Illustrated Commentary; Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery, 1978, no. 65, (illustrated), p. 41.
London, Leicester Galleries, Artists of Fame and Promise, July-August 1946, no. 171.
Canberra, The Australian National University, Drill Hall Gallery, The Ruth Prowse Collection - Thirty Years of Collecting April - May 2004, no. 7.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

Michael Ayrton and John Minton were commissioned by John Gielgud to design the sets and costumes for the 1942 production of Macbeth at the Piccadilly Theatre in London. The artists then held a joint exhibition at the Leicester Galleries the same year. Ayrton and Minton also illustrated the 1951 edition of W. Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Macbeth (with an Introduction by Sir Lewis Casson) published by the Folio Society, London. In the introduction Casson recounts:

Michael Ayrton was only nineteen when John Gielgud commissioned him to design sets and costumes for Macbeth. Not unnaturally he felt that the task might be beyond him and suggested a collaboration with John Minton, with whom he had shared a studio in Paris during the year immediately preceding the outbreak of war. In the event, both were called up into the forces and the designs had to be completed during short snatches of leave. Nonetheless the collaboration was so successful, and the work of both artists so closely interwoven, that it is all but impossible, in the set designs, to distinguish which artist was responsible for what.' (L. Casson, The Tragedy of Macbeth, London, 1951, p. 12)

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