top of page

Charles Mozley. England's Leonine Post-Impressionist Artist.

Charles Mozley was an English artist whose painting and lithography was influenced both in its style and subject matter by French post- impressionism. From the time of his graduation from the Royal College of Art in 1936 until his death in 1991, Mozley worked as a freelance independent artist, gaining commissions for oil paintings, landscapes, portraits, lithographs, murals, posters and illustrations.

Mozley was a strong-minded, often temperamental individual who revelled in his independence. Rooted in his Yorkshire background, he was, nevertheless, at home in the more refined environments of the elitist intellectual art world of mid-twentieth century England. He was a man of passion, humour and wit, all traits of character which are evident from his work. He was often authoritarian and dogmatic but at all times full of joie de vivre.


It is difficult to date Mozley’s entry into the world as a professional artist. At the age of eleven, in 1925, he had been awarded a scholarship to The British and Dominions School of Drawing but, with no family in London, he could not take up his place. However, we know that from about 1930 he started providing drawings for local businesses in Sheffield. Mozley would go on to attend The Sheffield School of Art and, on completion of those studies in 1932, celebrated his scholarship to The Royal College of Art not only with a year teaching at The Sheffield School of Art but also, in 1933, a one-man exhibition at Hibberts the principal private gallery in the city. The exhibition was well received by the press where the influence of one of Britain’s foremost post-impressionists, Walter Sickert, was noted. Mozley graduated from the RCA in 1936.

His style, at least in lithography and illustration, was very much following in the footsteps of his friend and mentor, Barnett Freedman. In 1938, he also married Eileen Kohn, whom he had met as a fellow student at the RCA. They moved to a flat in Chelsea. Mozley, at only twenty-four, was also teaching life drawing, anatomy and lithography at Camberwell School of Art and The Working Men’s College in Camden.


The subject matters of his works are themselves a matter of fascination and his characterisation and observation intriguing. From elegant couples on route to the theatre to the surprising impact of a fashionable punk duet, his compositions were so often glimpses of private moments. His emotional portrayals of the characters of Commedia dell’arte were a recurring theme from the 1960s onwards. Dining, the appreciation of fine wine, restaurants and bars were a constant source of imagery whether for painting or illustration throughout his life. As a landscape painter, Mozley was at ease in the rural atmospheres of both England and Continental Europe but he painted as often the city-scenes of Venice and Paris, which he frequented regularly.


Charles Mozley exhibited regularly throughout his life. During the 1940s and 50s in collective shows and, from the 1960s onwards, only in one-man exhibitions. Like many artists, he did not always see eye to eye with dealers and gallery owners. He was sociable and gregarious and yet remained a very private individual. 

bottom of page