Averil Lysaght - untitled

Artist Biography


Averil Lysaght was born in New Zealand and showed an early interest in entomology, discovering a previously unknown moth aged 15. She went on to study natural science at Victoria University College in Wellington and graduated with a master’s degree in 1929. She moved to England and by 1935 had a doctorate from the University of London after studying nematode parasites. During this period, she showed her first real interest in art, attending Nottingham School of Art and then St Martin’s School of Art in London.

She continued her scientific career but combined her interests after the war when cataloguing at the British Natural History Museum all the bird paintings executed on Cook’s various voyages. Her later academic career was largely that of a historian of Natural Science. In her own painting Lysaght showed great talent as an abstract artist and she was given a show at Leicester Galleries in 1961 alongside Anne Madden and Kyffin Williams. Her watercolour paintings were influenced, as were Madden’s, by those of Jean-Paul Riopelle. Later she turned to a more representational style. In 1968 four of Lysaght’s works were shown at an important group show at Gloucester Street Art Gallery, Canterbury in New Zealand.

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