MOZLEY, Charles

Charles Mozley  British 1914-1991

Charles Mozley print maker and illustrator, was born in Sheffield in 1914. His talent for drawing was recognized at an early age, and he attended Sheffield School of Art. There he studied painting and drawing, and acquired a sound knowledge of the processes of what was then called commercial art. Subsequently he won a national scholarship and moved to the Royal College of Art in London in 1934. While still in Sheffield he had an exhibition of his work which was favourably noticed locally. His success continued in London, and after graduating from the Royal College in 1937 he taught life drawing, anatomy, and lithography for a short while at Camberwell. Thereafter he was essentially a free-lance professional artist for the rest of his career.

At the outbreak of the Second World War Mozley joined the Army and spent the next six years in uniform. Like many other artists he worked in camouflage; subsequently he was in military intelligence. He had begun to gain commissions before the war, from London Transport, and from Country Life, for example. During the War his painting ‘Kentish Lane, 1940’ was reproduced in War pictures by British artists no. 4 : Army (Oxford University Press, 1942).

After the war commissions came at a great and increasing rate, in the form of film and theatre posters, advertisements and commercial work of all kinds. He contributed to the various series of poster-prints popular at the time, among them School prints, Society of London Painter-Printers, and Lyons lithographs. His Henley, 1951, can be seen. In the same year, 1951, he painted murals for the Festival of Britain on London’s South Bank. Shell were one of his patrons over a long period – the poster Loyal greetings from Shell and BP of 1953 is also on display; a distinct body of work was undertaken for the wine trade; he also undertook interior design. It is doubtful if he ever wanted for work again.

Mozley became increasingly in demand as a jacket designer and book illustrator, both in Britain and in the United States. He produced work for most of the leading English publishers. His very many book jackets were perhaps the most public manifestation of his graphic design. As a book illustrator he produced in the region of eighty different titles including around thirty for children, and was perhaps better known for these than those for adults. He was at the height of his powers and influence in the period from the early 1950s until the late 1970s. Many examples of his graphic design work of this period may be seen.

Throughout his life Mozley continued to paint, make prints, and exhibit, in group shows, and individually; his Venice paintings and lithographs were auctioned in 1979 in aid of the Venice in Peril Fund, and there are exhibitions recorded at the Savage Gallery (1960), the Mermaid Theatre, and the King Street Gallery.

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