Eileen Mayo

England / Australia / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1906, d.1994

Mother and Son

  • 1954
  • Wood-engraving
  • Purchased 1972
  • 171 x 123mm
  • 72/26

Eileen Mayo has a special place in Christchurch’s art history, not only because of her extraordinary prints and illustrious career but also her tangible connections with this city. Mayo settled here in Christchurch in 1967, having established a career as a printmaker and designer in Britain and Australia. Her British contemporaries included Mabel Annesley and Clare Leighton, both of whom are included in this exhibition, and several works by these artists came into the Gallery's collection as part of a gift of British modernist prints by Redfern Gallery director Rex Nan Kivell.

Mayo adored cats. They were a constant source of companionship throughout her life and were regularly used as subjects in her art.

The Golden Age 18 December 2015 – 1 May 2016

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Animals, particularly domestic cats, were a popular subject in the prints of Eileen Mayo, and one she returned to constantly throughout her career. She illustrated several books on nature subjects, including Best Cat Stories (1952). A highly skilled printmaker, Mayo worked in a wide variety of media, including linocuts and screenprints. Detailed wood engravings such as Mother and Son illustrate her technical ability, patience and skill in the medium. Born in Norwich, England, Mayo was introduced to wood engraving by her teacher, Noel Rooke, when she was studying at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. She later studied linocuts under Claude Flight (1881-1955). In 1953 Mayo left London for Sydney, then in 1962 moved to New Zealand. She taught at the School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, between 1967 and 1972. (Label date unknown)