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  • London Scenes by a London Mann at Sotheby's
    January 22, 2005 LONDON, UK.

    Cyril Mann. Ink and watercolour, entitled 'Cyclist in the Sun'.

    A collection of London scenes from the studio of Cyril Mann (1911-1980), a London-born artist, is being offered for sale at Sotheby's, Olympia in the 20th Century Modern British & Irish Art sale on Wednesday, February 16, 2005. Views of Islington, Clerkenwell, Tower Bridge, the City and the East End are all featured and highlight Mann's deep interest in the city of London in the 1940s and 1950s.

    The various London scenes make up only a part of the entire Cyril Mann collection on offer, however. The whole collection of more than 65 lots, spans the progress, styles and themes of Mann's entire career. It is the first time that any of the works in the collection have appeared on the market, having remained with the artist's family since his death in 1980. Works by Mann have rarely been exhibited before, so the sale will be a unique opportunity not only to purchase his work but also to see a large number of his paintings on view to the public for the first time. Estimates for the paintings range from £600-£3,500.

    Mann was born in London but in his early years moved with his family to Nottingham. In 1923 at the age of 12 he became the youngest boy to win a scholarship to the Nottingham College of Art, and four years later he moved to Canada and worked as a missionary. He returned to London in 1932 to continue his studies and he was sponsored to attend the Royal Academy Schools in 1935, where he developed his bright expressionist style of painting. Following his time at the Royal Academy he moved to Paris and attended the Grand Chaumières.

    During the Second World War, Mann served with the Royal Artillery Force, settling in Finsbury once the war was over. The presence of the sun in his pictures of post-war London and the power of its shattering rays bouncing off the urban landscapes evoke a curiously peaceful atmosphere despite the obvious Blitz devastation to the city.

    In the early 1950s Mann went on to explore the more tangible effect of light on objects in a style that became known as 'Solid Shadow'. The 1960s brought another change in his style, a development that appears to have coincided with the start of his second marriage. From the 1960s onwards Mann's palette became brighter and his brushwork more vibrant. His subject matter also became increasingly more domestic.

    Mann's drawing of 'Clerkenwell Church', which dates from 1957 and is expected to fetch £800-£1,200. An ink and watercolour, entitled 'Cyclist in the Sun', which is to be sold with three other similar works. The group is estimated at £800-£1,200. 'Double Decker Bus', is yet another highlight from the collection. It is to be sold together with two similar works and is estimated to fetch £600-£800. Other London views depicted by Mann include 'Tower Bridge', 'Welsh Chapel, Islington', 'Bomb Site Near St Pauls', 'London Street Scene By Lamp Light' and 'St Mary's, Walthamstow'.

    If you are keen to learn more about Cyril Mann and his collection, John Russell Taylor, author of 'The Sun is God: The Life and Work of Cyril Mann' will be giving a talk about the artist at Sotheby's, Olympia on Sunday, February 13 at 3pm. Doors open at 12 noon and complimentary refreshments will be served from 2.30pm.