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 Eileen Mayo  (1906 - 1994)

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Lived/Active: England      Known for: linocuts, figure and marine paintings, stamp designs

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Biography from International Art Centre:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Widely acclaimed in London in the twenties, Eileen Mayo was a strikingly beautiful young woman who initially supplemented her income by modeling for some of the leading artists of the time including Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. She studied design at the Slade School and Central School of Arts and Crafts.

Instructed in lino cutting by Claude Flight, Mayo was invited to participate in The Second Exhibition of British Linocuts at the Redfern Gallery. Kenneth Clark described her designs as 'outstandingly good' and her entries from 1930 to 1934 were acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum. She enjoyed a very successful career as an illustrator and contributor to publications such as Art News & Reviews.

Mayo was one of the few British artists using egg tempera in the forties. While this choice of medium meant sacrificing the family egg ration for the essential albumen, it was the ideal vehicle to showcase her original and technically brilliant work. After extensive travels Mayo returned to London in 1936 to study under Henry Moore and Robert Medley at the Chelsea Polytechnic. By 1946 she had works in both the Royal Academy and the Arts Council touring exhibition, and had completed further books on animals for Pleiades Books.

In 1952 she settled in Australia with the intention of being closer to her mother and sister who had emigrated to New Zealand in 1921. Inspired by the natural history of the southern hemisphere she taught, exhibited and was commissioned by both Qantas and the New South Wales Tourist Board.

In 1962 she crossed the Tasman to live in New Zealand while still carrying out Australian commissions for stamp and decimal coinage design. At the invitation of the New Zealand Treasury Mayo completed several commissions for first-day covers and stamps, including the Captain Cook bicentenary stamps in 1969 and for the Unicef and Antarctic Treaty anniversaries. Mayo's print making continued unabated, and she continued to exhibit internationally.

 Mayo lived in Christchurch, teaching at the University of Canterbury until 1972. For more than three years she worked on an underwater diorama with Otago Museum. In 1994, one week before her death at the age of 87, she was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

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