Ayrton, Michael (1921 - 1975)
'Black Still Life'. Oil on board. 1959. Signed. Exhibited: Matthiesen Ltd, 1959, Cat. No.29. Ex. Collection: Andrew Burt. Literature: J. Hopkins, 'Michael Ayrton Centenary: Ideas, Images and Reflections', 2021. 40x30 inches. Framed: 41.5x31.5 inches.

This is one of four monumental still lifes Ayrton painted in 1959. Two were white, two black. They are formal explorations of tone and colour, brought about by Ayrton's fascination with the contrasting lights of East Anglia and Greece. The objects - egg, flowers and ram's skull (birth, life and death) - also place this in the long tradition of Vanitas still lifes.