B.

Cut it out

Behind the scenes

Eileen Mayo has more than a few fans here at Christchurch Art Gallery and for me her linocuts are a standout of her works represented in the Gallery's collection.

Eileen Mayo's copy of Claude Flight, Lino Cutting and Printing, London, 1934.

Eileen Mayo's copy of Claude Flight, Lino Cutting and Printing, London, 1934.

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Eileen Mayo Cats in the trees (1931), linocut, Collection Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, presented by Rex Nan Kivell, 1953.

Eileen Mayo Cats in the trees (1931), linocut, Collection Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, presented by Rex Nan Kivell, 1953.

Cats in the trees was produced when Eileen, who settled in Christchurch in her later years, was working and exhibiting in London alongside major British printmakers of the 1920s and 30s including Claude Flight, Sybil Andrews and Cyril Power. The Gallery's library owns Eileen's personal copy of Flight's seminal book on the art of the linocut titled Lino Cutting and Printing (1934) which illustrates Cats in the trees as the frontispiece and explains in-depth the processes she went through to complete the print.  

Flight explains..."Let us consider Eileen Mayo's frontispiece, 'Cats', a linocut printed from four blocks of linoleum...[which are illustrated above]...The preliminary drawing was made in pencil outline and the four colours: veridian, yellow, brown and prussian blue, were painted in water-colour on this drawing.

Each colour in the preliminary drawing was put on separately and allowed to dry, before the next colour was used ; by this means a distinct composition in each colour was arranged so that when the four blocks were cut and prints taken from these blocks, each block printing its own colour, the result of the superimposition of various colours made the final picture, which is a good form and colour composition."