Leonard Beaumont (1891-1986) was a prolific Sheffield-born artist and designer, whose skillful etchings and bold modernist linocuts have rarely received the attention they deserve. A new exhibition at the Graves Gallery
this winter, The Power of the Print: Leonard Beaumont Rediscovered revisits the work of this arguably neglected son of the city.
Leonard Beaumont initially found inspiration for his etchings and drypoint work in the dramatic vistas of the Alps during holidays in Switzerland, and subsequently in the street life of Madeira and Tenerife. The highly realistic prints he produced were each drawn from the recollection; Beaumont never worked outdoors, instead relying on memory to create his finely detailed scenes, many of which were displayed at the Royal Academy.
Beaumonts numerous linocuts showcase a far bolder graphic style; clearly influenced by the Vorticist movement, these dynamic images share many characteristics with the work of Cyril Power, Sybil Andrews and their contemporaries at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art.
Shortly before his death, Beaumont donated over 80 of his prints to his home city. This new exhibition will feature many of these striking works, the majority of which have not been seen for almost thirty years. Amongst the works on display will be Towards the Valley (1923, drypoint), Mule Train (1930, etching), Mountain Stream (c1931, linocut) and In Flight (c1933, linocut).
Sian Brown, Curatorial Services Manager at Museums Sheffield said: Leonard Beaumont created a dazzling array of work throughout the 20th century, yet it has largely remained overshadowed by that of his contemporaries. Were delighted to have the opportunity to re-evaluate his contribution to modern British art and provide a fitting showcase for these wonderful works here in his home town.
Born and raised in Sheffield, Leonard Beaumont developed a successful career as a commercial artist alongside his personal practice. He joined the Sheffield Daily Telegraph aged 16, working as a junior while attending evening classes at the Sheffield School of Art. Following service overseas during the First World War, he returned to the paper where he would eventually lead the art team. During this time he also established the short-lived Sheffield Print Club with fellow artists Stanley Royle and J. G. Hoyland. Beaumont moved to London in 1936, working as a freelance artist working for the likes of United Artists and the GPO. In 1950 Beaumont was appointed as design consultant for Sainsburys, and went on to pioneer a consistent, recognisable identity for the supermarket before his retirement in 1964.
The Power of the Print: Leonard Beaumont Rediscovered opened at the Graves Gallery on Saturday 22 December and continues until Saturday 14 September entry to the exhibition is free.