Leonard Beaumont - unsung Sheffield hero?

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  • Pincushion, bought by Tom Akers, Royal Horse Artillery, as a souvenir for his wife, Violet © Museums Sheffield
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Collections Project Assistant Hannah Brignell has been researching Sheffield artist and designer Leonard Beaumont (1891-1986) in advance of a major new exhibition at Graves Gallery later this year.

I’ve just finished working on a major project documenting all the art works on paper held in Museums Sheffield’s collections.  It has been an exciting venture and I have been able to rediscover some of my favourite artists, including Leonard Beaumont, who was born in Sheffield in 1891.

As a printmaker myself I have a great appreciation for Beaumont’s beautiful and bold modernist prints. He was a very talented printmaker, in both etching and linocut , the subject of his book ‘Art From Linoeum – An Introduction to Lino Prints and How to Cut them’. His skill as a designer can be seen through this type of print making, using bold and simple forms influenced by the Vorticists and Cubists.



Beaumont had strong links with other many other Sheffield-born artists, working with James Dowd and Stanley Royle at the Sheffield Daily Telegraph. Travelling frequently, Beaumont was inspired by the landscape, architecture and street life in Switzerland, Madeira and Tenerife. He created detailed etchings, never printing outdoors but relying on memory and imagination.

‘I work mostly from the imagination. I never took photographs or made rough sketches. You would never identify the scenes I etched.’

He later became to be an influential draughtsman and a major figure in commercial design, creating the Sainsbury’s logo and packaging, still in evidence today. The contribution he made to 20th century design is not widely celebrated and it has been over 30 years since a major Beaumont exhibition has been shown in Sheffield.

Beaumont donated over 80 works in the 1980s to Sheffield, including, etchings, linocuts watercolours and drawings. Some of these will be shown in an exhibition opening on 22 December 2012 at the Graves Gallery. To read an interview with Leonard Beaumont in the Sheffield Star, in which he talks about his gift to Sheffield three years before his death in 1986, click here



Images: Self Portrait, 1981 (pen and ink on paper), Grinders, 1932 (linocut on paper)

Jun 14 2012

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