Display caption

Michael Ayrton became friends with the painter and author Percy Wyndham Lewis (1882–1957) in the last few years of Lewis’s life. Ayrton illustrated several of Lewis’s books, and was commissioned by his publishers, Methuen and Co., to make this portrait, which he painted from life. Ayrton particularly admired Lewis as the founder of the avant garde art movement, Vorticism: the handkerchief in Lewis’s breast pocket is arranged into the angular ‘V’ often used in Vorticist imagery. In 1953 Lewis had been made blind by a brain tumour, and wore the green plastic visor to protect his eyes.

August 2004