9 June – 9 September 2022
This exhibition, now open in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, explores the concept of the male gaze in twentieth-century British illustration, and is curated by Cătălina Zlotea.
The exhibition analyses the work of the British illustrator, Charles Mozley (1914–1991), through a contemporary lens. It does so by foregrounding two female stereotypes depicted in advertisements, ephemera, and fine art lithographs made by Mozley between the late 1940s and the early 1980s. The exhibition arrangement creates contrast and conflict between the image of the middle-class “virtuous” woman – a virgin goddess placed on a pedestal – and the “loose” woman – an anonymous sex object signalled through hair colour and scanty clothing. This female presence, recurrent in Mozley’s work, demonstrates the quality of the artist’s draughtsmanship while connoting middle-class masculine virtues, follies, and sexual desires.
The exhibition is open weekdays, 10 am to 5 pm. Closed bank holidays.
About Charles Mozley
Charles Mozley was born in Sheffield where he studied painting and drawing at the Sheffield College of Arts and Crafts. In 1933 he won a scholarship from the Royal College of Art and moved to London to study painting. After graduating, he taught life drawing, anatomy, and lithography at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts. Following the Second World War and for the rest of his career, he worked as a freelance artist.
Prolific and versatile, Mozley was among the artists commissioned by Frank Pick and Jack Beddington for prestigious London Transport and Shell-Mex advertising campaigns. He also created designs for the advertising agency Colman, Prentis & Varley, for theatre and film production companies, and for many British publishers. He painted a mural for the Festival of Britain, contributed to the popular “School Prints” and “Lyons Lithographs” series, and produced ephemera for restaurants and the wine trade. Alongside commercial work, Mozley continuously painted, made prints, and exhibited in solo and group shows.
The long list of commissions, as well as the works held by the Charles Mozley Trust, provide evidence that Mozley’s pictures were widely seen in Britain in the second half of the twentieth century. As Nicolas Barker has remarked, Mozley’s work is “a graphic-mirror of the post-war era”, making it a valuable resource for the study of visual culture.
Curator: Cătălina Zlotea
Exhibition design: Cătălina Zlotea, Hannah Smith
Exhibition consultant: Eric Kindel
Archive consultant: Sallie Morris
Production: Geoff Wyeth
Thanks to the Charles Mozley Trust, which has supported this exhibition and the doctoral research by Cătălina Zlotea that informs it.