Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Charles Mahoney (1903-1968)   BIOGRAPHY

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Studies for watering can, mid 1930's
Framed (ref: 3406)

Watercolour and pen on light blue paper, 14 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. (37 x 31.5 cm.)


 


Provenance: the Artist's Estate

In a pitch pine flat section frame with black inner and outer mouldings.

 

Mahoney's unbridled enthusiasm for plants extended to included the objects and implements found in gardens - watering cans, greenhouses, wheelbarrows, spades etc.  His interest and aesthetic sensibility were shared with his contemporaries Edward Bawden, Geoffrey Rhoades, John Nash and Evelyn Dunbar, withwhom he swapped cuttings by post.  Mahoney was instrumental in helping Bawden layout his celebrated garden at Brick House, and Bawden in turn was asked  to contribute the foreword to Mahoney and Dunbar's 1937 book Gardener's Choice.


Elizabeth Bulkeley, the artist's daughter, recalls her father's passion thus:

Beneath the south wall of his studio my father made wigwams of canes to support multicoloured gourds and deep blue Morning Glory trumpets. He grew many kinds of Polygonum. Some, like P. cuspidatum, were statuesque giants, others, were delicate and lacy. He appreciated flowers such as tulips and Opium Poppies for their slender upright form with a burst of bloom at the top, as they popped up between bushier plants throughout the garden. Lilies likewise shot through the foliage of other plants and exploded in exquisite flowers. Auriculas were a particular passion. He loved the primly formal arrangement which complemented the sumptuous colour combinations. (letter to Paul Liss 15th March 2005)

 



Charles Mahoney (1903-1968)

In his memoir Since 50, Men & Memories 1922-1938 (New York,1940, p. 236) the first two names that appear on William Rothenstein list of top Royal College of Art students were Henry Moore and Charles Mahoney - the list continues with the names of luminaries such  as Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, Barnett Freedman Edward Le Bas, and Evelyn Dunbar. The process of reassuring Mahoney's place in 20th century British Art has had several important milestones including the 1975 Ashmolean exhibition, the Liss Fine Art/Fine Art Society touring show (2000) and Mahoney's predominant feature in Tate Britain's The Art of the Garden, (2005) -  but the process of reassessment still has a long way to go.


Painter, muralist, draughtsman and teacher. Born Cyril Mahoney in London - his fellow-student Barnett Freedman re-christened him Charlie at the Royal College of Art, which he attended 1922-6 after a period at Beckenham School of Art under Percy Jowett. Early on, Mahoney established a reputation as a conscientious teacher. He was at the Royal College 1928-53, from 1948-53 as a painting tutor, and was noted there for his concern for academic discipline. His portrait is included in Rodrigo Moynihan's celebrated Teaching Staff of the Painting School at the Royal College of Art, 1949-50. From 1954 to 1963 he taught at the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting and from 1961 to 1968 at the Royal Academy Schools. He painted murals at Morley College 1928-30 with his colleagues Eric Ravillious and Edward Bawden. Unfortunately these murals were destroyed during World War II. The work led to further murals: at Brockley School, Kent, with Evelyn Dunbar; and at Campion Hall Lady Chapel, Oxford. His oil paintings are frequently of a religious nature. He was a skilled botanist, and many of his drawings depict his garden at Wrotham, Kent. He exhibited at NEAC and the RA, being made an RA elect in 1968. He is represented in the Tate Gallery and other public collections. The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, held a memorial exhibition in 1975. Exhibitions were held in 2000 at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, Royal Museum and Art Gallery, Canterbury, and the Fine Art Society plc in association with Liss Fine Art.





See all works by Charles Mahoney