Cyril Edward Power

British (1872–1951)

Architect, painter, etcher, color linocut and monotype artist, Cyril Edward Power was born in 1872 in London. Following his family’s tradition, Power became articled as an architect in 1890 and worked, for a time, in his father’s office. In 1900 he was awarded the Sloane Medallion by the Royal Institute of British Architects for a design for an art school. He was elected an Associate Member of the RIBA in 1902 and two years later, he married and moved to Putney in London, with his new wife.

After working for some time as an architect, Power began producing watercolor landscapes and townscapes as well as some 40 drypoints in 1920. In 1923, he moved to St. Albans in Hertfordshire and enrolled at the Heatherly School of Fine Art. In 1925, Power was elected as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and he helped Claude Flight and Ian McNab to set up the Grosevnor School of Modern Art in London. Power became a principal lecturer at the school and learned the technique of linocutting from Flight.

In 1929, Claude Flight and his circle mounted the “The First Exhibition of British Lino-Cuts” at the Redfern Gallery. Additional exhibitions were arranged and traveled to the United States, Australia and China. The success of these exhibitions led to a commission by the Underground Electric Railways of London to design a series of posters. The posters were produced as chromolithographs based on the themes of sporting venues that could be reached via the London underground system and later by bus or private coach hire. The first poster appeared at the Southfield tube station, the take-off point for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. Posters were also designed for ice hockey, racing and skating.

In 1930, Power was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists. He set up a studio near the River Thames with fellow artist, Sybil Andrews. The river inspired numerous prints by both artists, most notably, “The Eight” by Power and “Bringing in the Boat” by Andrews. Power and Andrews had their first major exhibition consisting of linocuts and monotypes at the Redfern Gallery in 1933. Needing to earn a steady income, Power took regular employment with the Architect’s Division of the London City Council. The partnership between Power and Andrews came to an end in 1938 and in 1939, at the outbreak of the war, Power was assigned to a Heavy Rescue Squad as a surveyor. He continued to paint and draw and give lectures on painting and linocutting to the local art society at New Malden and Kingston. During 1951, the last year of his life, Power completed eighty- nine oil paintings and numerous floral studies.