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Lifestyle: Friendships and observations

Mozley’s interest in wine, its ambience, vineyards, and dining had begun early in his career, and interestingly enough through illustration and his friendships. In 1947, he illustrated an article in the ‘Leader’ Magazine by, an as yet little known Laurie Lee, entitled ‘Chianti in the Sun’. The magazine introduced him as ‘Charles Mozley illustrator of Chianti has a long and miserable “broody period” before he can settle down to drawing, which is otherwise “very pleasant work.” He never makes pencil sketches first, goes straight ahead with pen. Finds that as an artist never has any leisure: “subconsciously you are storing images all the time.” Has done many film posters including those for Ideal Husband and Queen of Spades. Favourite subjects for drawing: women.’

His friendships with Tommy Marks, Marketing Director of Guinness and then Chairman of Harp Lager, and George Rainbird, publisher and writer both on wine and sherries only intensified his interest. In 1964, Mozley illustrated a short story by Evelyn Waugh “Fizz, Bubbly and Pop”, and in 1966 commenced an association with Bass Charrington Vintners and its various subsidiaries which would last fifteen years. This had come about through his friend David Russell, an ex-actor, whom Mozley had met at one of the lavish parties organised by Sir Alexander Korda, who now covered the Group’s PR requirements at Galatzine, Chant & Russell.

Mozley was a lover of fine wines, but showed his Yorkshire upbringing in being a very moderate drinker. He enjoyed the conviviality of these new relationships and thrived on the commissions to paint in France, Italy and Germany that they generated. Jancis Robinson noted in her book Tasting Pleasure: Confessions of a Wine Lover:

“This time I stayed at the Gritti Palace, dining on a terrace which seems almost to be floating on the Grand Canal. Also in the party was Charles Mozley, the leonine artist and illustrator whom David Russell had persuaded to do some work for Bass Charrington’s wine company Hedges & Butler in exchange, I suspect, for vast amounts of wine. His impressionistic pastels of the Bordeaux chateaux are now collector’s items and join all sorts of bargain bottles as purchases I wish I had made. Charles was mercurial, however, and although the trip was virtually fault- free, he needed cosseting and humouring. Indeed, David Russell made a speciality of humouring difficult characters such as Mozley, the Rothschilds of Mouton and Cyril Ray, an elegant and urbane writer whom he also cajoled into ornamenting Hedges & Butler’s public face.”


Mozley was to illustrate a monograph on the family and winery Ruffino by Ray and, in 1979, combined with him to produce an amusing little book for Dent entitled Liquorish Limericks and Filthy Pictures.

Contemporaneously with his landscape and portrait painting, lithographic and illustrative work, Mozley was encouraged by the Mayfair Gallery owner Peter Matthews (son-in-law of the well-established art dealer Dudley Tooth) to concentrate on his portrayals of life in both the rarefied and the less salubrious atmosphere of Parisian life. The series of six exhibitions that were held at Matthews’s Gallery in Mayfair and Burke’s Club in Berkeley Square from 1968 to 1975 were perhaps the most successful of his exhibitions. The most acclaimed were the exhibitions of his lithographic work in the 1940s and the most prestigious and substantial the exhibition at Somerset House and Palazzo Prigione in 1979 and at Hamiltons in 1983. Charles Mozley had always had a somewhat contentious relationship with dealers and art critics. He had always balked at the idea of using an agent to promote his work and was profoundly at odds with much in the art world and its self-promoting array of ‘experts’. And yet, he was good friends of both Matthews and previously Robert Savage who had exhibited his work at his gallery in South Kensington. The art world was obviously very different in its structure than it has become since the 1980s. Government funding, both local and national, played virtually no part. Corporate sponsorship was only beginning its incursion into re-entering the art world and the art establishment was still steeped in its academic roots, while the teaching of art had lost any requirements of necessitating the teaching of technical skills.

Mozley had a very active social life. He was a member, at various times of such diverse clubs as the Garrick and the Chelsea Arts Club, and dining clubs: The Double Crown, the Wynken de Worde and the Omar Khayyam. Very different ambiences, but it was that variety of social groupings that he enjoyed and stimulated his visual imagery and fantasy. He was a gregarious, spontaneous and opinionated individual with a wide circle of friends that never ceased to encourage him into new ventures.

Bon Viveur: The observation and portrayal of the pleasures of life.

Mozley’s fascination and interest in images of both the somewhat decadent and sophisticated life styles of city life were perhaps inevitable given his admiration for many of the post-impressionist artists and their ability to convey character and emotion. This was partly derived from his own painting and partly from his illustration commissions, but it was the dealer and gallery owner Peter Matthews who accompanied Mozley to Paris to encourage the capture of a vast panoply of imagery that was to become the hallmark of his work between 1968 and 1975. If Paris was the encouragement of Matthews, London was due to David Russell and wine merchants Hedges & Butler.

From the work that Mozley produced it is easy to misconstrue his own lifestyle and views on behaviour and mores. Although authoritarian, he was deeply compassionate and understanding of human frailty. He enjoyed life and its pleasures but he was no bon viveur however easily he could mix within such settings as he had in the exaggerated flamboyancy of the theatre and film world of the late 1940s.

The exhibition at Burke’s Club entitled “Bon Viveur a Paris” was successful because it portrayed elegantly and light-heartedly but truthfully moments and behaviours of the pleasures and delusions of life.

His last Years: Bigger Projects, Grander Designs.

As Mozley approached his seventieth birthday, while he withdrew from seeking commissions from either publishers or corporate sponsors as most of his contacts reached retirement age, his output only increased and he embarked on his grandest projects. An exhibition of his works in oils and watercolours at Hamilton’s of Mayfair in 1983 perhaps marked a turning point. The exhibition was primarily of landscape and conversational works in oil on canvas, but also contained a selection of mock-up illustrations. One of the guests at the Private View, John Deuss, commissioned Mozley to produce one of his most ambitious illustrative works: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The Folio editions only ran to seven Tales and the prologue given that Deuss only wished to produce two every couple of years, but contained more than 300 lithographs.


The exhibition at Hamiltons was followed by a retrospective at the King Street Gallery in 1989 as Mozley continued to travel to Paris and paint his grandest murals. Entrepreneur, Paul Carvosso, whose wine bar Pissaro had become a favourite haunt, invited Mozley to paint murals at his hotel in Richmond.

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