THE WORK of Sheffield designer and artist Leonard Beaumont is on show at a new exhibition in the Graves Gallery, Sheffield from Saturday (Dec 22).
He is arguably neglected in his home city but his work is still known and collected. It varies in style from realistic prints that were often inspired by his travels in Switzerland, Madeira and Tenerife to linocuts in a far bolder graphic style that was influenced by the Vorticist movement. They were a radical group of artists working around the time of World War One whose style is loosely related to cubists like Picasso.
Born and bred in Sheffield in 1891, Leonard Beaumont started worked for The Star’s sister paper the old Sheffield Morning Telegraph as an artist at the age of 16 and attended evening classes at the Sheffield School of Art. He served in World War One, afterwards returning to the paper where he would eventually lead the art team. He also established the short-lived Sheffield Print Club with fellow artists Stanley Royle and J G Hoyland.
Leonard Beaumont left the city for London in 1936, working as a freelance artist for organisations like United Artists film studio and the GPO, the predecessor of the Royal Mail. His GPO posters, which are still sought after by collectors, were very distinctive and featured a lot of typography to convey clear, simple messages about the postal service.
In 1950 Beaumont was appointed as design consultant for Sainsburys, and went on to pioneer a consistent, recognisable identity for the supermarket and its packaging before his retirement in 1964.
The works on show come from a collection of more than 80 prints that the artist donated to his home city shortly before his death in 1986. These are in the Museums Sheffield collection.
This new exhibition will feature many of his striking works, the majority of which have not been seen for almost 30 years.
Sian Brown, curatorial services manager at Museums Sheffield, said: “Leonard Beaumont created a dazzling array of work throughout the 20th century, yet it has largely remained overshadowed by that of his contemporaries.
“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to re-evaluate his contribution to modern British art and provide a fitting showcase for these wonderful works here in his home town.”
The Power of the Print: Leonard Beaumont Rediscovered is on at the Graves Art Gallery in Sheffield Central Library until September 14 next year. Entry is free.