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Cyril Power Artist Biography

Cyril Power was one of the pioneers and leading exponents of the linocut in England. depicting the speed, movement and flow of modern urban London in the 1920`s and 30`s. He is well-known for his artistic partnership with Canadian artist Sybil Andrews, and for co-founding The Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London in 1925. He was also a successful architect and teacher.

Cyril Power was born in Chelsea, London, the eldest child of an architect father who encouraged his interest in the arts, especially drawing. He followed in the family tradition, became an architect and worked in his father’s practice. He excelled there, and in 1900 won The Sloane Medallion, awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects for his design for an art school.

In 1904, Cyril Power married Dorothy Mary Nunn, with whom he was to raise four children. They lived mostly in London, in Putney, and then Catford, but for a period in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, where he was to meet and then work with life-long friend and fellow artist Sybil Andrews. Cyril Power and Sybil Andrews enrolled at Heatherley’s School of Fine Art, London, in 1925. The two artists helped Iain McNab and Claude Flight set up The Grosvenor School of Modern Art in Warwick Square. Sybil Andrews became the school secretary and Cyril Power the principal lecturer. Cyril Power taught on the form and structure of buildings; on historical ornament and on architectural styles. But he, along with Andrews, also attended Claude Flight’s classes, at the School, in linocutting. Soon, Cyril Power and Sybil Andrew attracted students that came from as far afield as Australia and New Zealand.

Around this time, Cyril Power and Sybil Andrews began co-authoring prints together under the name ‘Andrew Power’. The ‘First Exhibition of British Lino-Cuts’ was mounted in June 1929 at The Redfern Gallery, London, and a series of exhibitions were then held annually at both The Redfern and The Ward Gallery. These attracted considerable interest, and commissions for Cyril Power`s and Andrew's work came in from The London Passenger Transport Board. Frank Pick, the Deputy Chairman of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London commissioned a series of posters. This series lead to further sporting posters and an interest in speed and movement in his work became evident.

In 1930, Cyril Power was elected member of the Royal Society of British Artists and established a studio with Sybil Andrews in Hammersmith close to the River Thames, a location which inspired many prints by both artists, most notably 'The Eight' by Cyril Power and 'Bringing in the Boat' by Sybil Andrews. Their first major joint exhibition was at the Redfern Gallery in 1933 which consisted of linocuts and monotypes. The following years saw many more joint exhibitions until the dissolution of their informal partnership in July 1938 when they gave up their studio.

In September 1939, at the outbreak of World War II, Cyril Power was attached to a Heavy Rescue Squad as a surveyor, based at Wandsworth Town Hall. He continued drawing and painting, tending to work principally in oils using a palette knife technique.

During the last year of his life, Cyril Power completed some eighty-nine oil paintings, a format he had grown increasingly fond of in the preceding years. These were mainly landscapes of the surrounding areas, often Helford River and the Falmouth area of Cornwall as well as some floral studies. He died in London in May 1951, aged seventy-eight.

Architecture was the subject of many of Cyril Power's linocuts, as well as speed, movement, modernity and the urban environment.

One of his favourite subjects was the London Underground, a symbol of the modern industrial age, and his print of the newly opened Bank Road Tube Station, 'The Tube Station', is one of his most celebrated works.

Works by Cyril Power are held in public collections around the world, including the British Museum, Auckland City Art Gallery, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, National Gallery of Australia, New York Public Library, Art Gallery of Ontario, National Art Gallery of New Zealand and London Transport Museum.

More art prints from Cyril Power

Whence and Whither? By Cyril Power
The Sunshine Roof By Cyril Power
Folk Dance By Cyril Power
Speed Trial By Cyril Power
Skaters By Cyril Power
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